88% of African raptors face
rapid population declines, according to a study.
According to a recent study,
throughout the previous 40 years, there have been notable population losses of
approximately 88% for 37 of the 42 African raptor species that were examined.
Of these, 29 species, or 69%, have experienced declines over three generation
lengths, making them globally threatened by the IUCN's definition of endangerment.
Most Endangered Endemic
Six raptor species that are
endemic or nearly endemic to Africa have already exceeded the minimal threshold
of habitat loss and population that indicates a higher danger of extinction,
according to the report.
Undervaluing the State of
Over ten declining but currently
least-concern species urgently need to have their statuses reevaluated, as they
may be more endangered than currently thought.
Principal Causes of Raptor
Declines have been accelerated by
habitat degradation, loss of breeding grounds and prey base, poisoning, and
hunting, particularly in West Africa where there is a high level of poverty,
corruption, and poor government.
Reduced Forest Cover and Growing
Farms: A study finds that every year, almost 5 million hectares of forest cover
are lost to farmland throughout the continent. Since the 1970s, agriculture has
increased roughly three times greater in West Africa, which has reduced the
range of raptors.
Utilizing protected areas
Only 14% of the land is covered
by protected areas, so as the human footprint grows, dwindling prey species
will face increased competition and pressure even within reserves.
Additional Environmental and
The predators also deal with
problems like car crashes and infrastructure-related electrocution. Their
inability to procreate quickly also hinders their recuperation.
Ecosystem Instability Risk
Their population declines have
the potential to lead to food chain instability, disease outbreaks, and the
loss of vital ecological services such as scavenging animal corpses.
The concerning population
patterns highlight the need for habitat preservation and community support for
these elite but vulnerable bird hunters before a number of ecologically
and symbolically significant species go extinct.