MAY 19, 2020 8:04 AM PDT

Three-fourths of migratory birds in the Pacific threatened by overhunting

Overhunting of migratory shorebirds in the Asia-Pacific region has reached an all-time high - and conservationists are concerned. 

"The Asia-Pacific is host to one of the most amazing animal migrations on earth," said University of Queensland Ph.D. student Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao, who led a recent study on the topic. "Every year, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, wetland-dependent species, breed across the Arctic and boreal regions, moving south to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand along a migration corridor known as the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

"The Flyway spans 22 countries, through which 61 species of shorebirds complete their epic annual migrations, some covering up to 25,000 km each year. But many of these fascinating birds are unfortunately declining, with several on the brink of extinction.”

According to Gallo-Cajiao’s research, three-quarters of these species have been hunted in the last half-century, and hunting isn’t the only threat that they face. 

"Until now, habitat loss due to the expansion of coastal infrastructure had been identified as one of the main causes of their declines, particularly around the Yellow Sea region of China and the Korean peninsula, where many birds stop to rest and feed on their migrations. The scale and significance of hunting were unknown prior to this study, and it's clear that it's likely contributed to declines of migratory shorebirds in this region."

To determine that scale, the research team analyzed data from hunting records of 46 species throughout 14 countries. Unfortunately, there was not enough data from all of the countries spanning the Flyway corridor and eight countries were missing from the analysis. 

Photo: Pixabay

The team found five critically endangered shorebird species, including the spoon-billed sandpiper, the great knot, far eastern curlew, and spotted greenshank. There are currently fewer than 500 spoon-billed sandpipers known to exist. 

"Internationally coordinated approaches to address hunting are now underway, including through the UN Convention on Migratory Species, but these efforts need to be drastically ramped up to avoid extinctions and maintain healthy wildlife populations,” concludes UQ Professor Richard Fuller, who collaborated on the study. "Additional ground surveys and an international coordinated monitoring strategy are also urgently needed."

Sources: Biological Conservation, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
MAY 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
3-D Printing a Future with Affordable and Sustainable Nuclear Energy
MAY 22, 2020
3-D Printing a Future with Affordable and Sustainable Nuclear Energy
Admittedly, conventional nuclear plants are extremely costly to build and hazard-prone. To bring atomic energy into the ...
JUN 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
Giant Hornet Queen Struggles to Establish Her Nest
JUN 14, 2020
Giant Hornet Queen Struggles to Establish Her Nest
Giant hornets are among the world’s largest and deadliest hornets, which might explain why they’re so revere ...
JUN 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasty Pigeon Just Barely Outflies a Hungry Falcon
JUN 15, 2020
Tasty Pigeon Just Barely Outflies a Hungry Falcon
It’s dog eat dog out there, especially in the animal kingdom. But this well-received idiom referring to the ruthle ...
JUN 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
The pros and cons of agroforestry
JUN 16, 2020
The pros and cons of agroforestry
Research published in the journal Conservation Letters highlights the importance of considering land-use history when ev ...
JUL 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Uber white paint improves passive daytime radiative cooling
JUL 03, 2020
Uber white paint improves passive daytime radiative cooling
A report published in the journal Joule describes an innovative paint that is capable of reflecting up to 98% of solar h ...
JUL 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
Ghost Crabs Produce Sounds in Stomachs
JUL 27, 2020
Ghost Crabs Produce Sounds in Stomachs
Research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and University ...
Loading Comments...