Six foreign bird species receive Endangered Species Act protection

Written by Vanessa Kauffman/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today a final rule to protect six foreign bird species found on islands in French Polynesia and in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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Artwork of Slender-billed Curlews. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The rule implements federal protections provided by the ESA for the Cantabrian Capercaillie, Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, Eiao Marquesas Reed-warbler, Greater Adjutant, Jerdon’s Courser, and Slender-billed Curlew. Populations of each of these species are small, fragmented, and declining, making them particularly vulnerable to genetic threats associated with small populations and extinction.

This determination follows a thorough review of the best available scientific information, comments from the general public, peer reviews, and any new information received during the public comment period following publication of the proposed rule to list these species.

Significant threats to these six foreign bird species include habitat loss, overutilization and inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms. Information on climate change was available for only one species, the slender-billed curlew; based on this information the Service found climate change to be a potential threat to this species.

Granting foreign species protection under the ESA means that the import or export of any of the species, or their parts or products, as well as their sale in interstate or foreign commerce, is prohibited. Permits for these prohibited actions may be issued for specific purposes consistent with the ESA.

The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on August 11, 2011, and become effective on September 12, 2011.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and to date has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species program’s Branch of Foreign Species, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/international-activities.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/usfws, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfwsand download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.

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