Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mexican Government Endangers Migratory Bird Populations

The Mexican Government, as of February 11th 2008, is permitting the industrial development of Laguna de Cuyutlan in Colima, Mexico, the fourth largest mangrove-lagoon wetland in the nation. This is the largest wetland in a span of 1150 kilometers along the Pacific coast of Mexico. This lagoon is on the principal western migratory corridor for 89 species of water/shorebirds, 22 of which are at risk.

Construction of an access canal for LNG vessels will raise the concentration of salt and water levels in all parts of the lagoon system, which, in turn, will kill species of mangrove and fish not adapted to these new conditions. As a result, many species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates will lose their habitat. The previous and ongoing local uses of the area; salt extraction, fishery and some sewage and pesticide runoff, have been shown to have had no adverse effect on this vital habitat.

The Mexican Government signed, in 1993, with the United States and Canada, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which obliges each signatory to respect the environmental laws of the other two countries, and to "increase co-operation between the Parties to better preserve protect and enhance the environment, including wild flora and fauna."

In February the environmental organization Bios Iguana brought a case under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to challenge the Mexican Government's action.

BiosIguana asks that journalists and conservationists assist in focusing international public attention on this grave situation. At this point, the government has authorized the developer to begin construction, and although Mexican law requires that all mangroves receive protection, there has been no scientific demonstration that these species will be unaffected. For more information: Esperanza Salazar Zenil

State of the Birds

The United State Fish and Wildlife Service has just released a "State of the Birds" report which gives a sense of what the regional USFWS priorities are for bird conservation. The website has a nice set of information that is worth perusing including an exceptional video that takes about 6 minutes to watch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kudos to Maryland Department of Natural Resources

The State of Maryland announced today that effective April 1 it will require a 2:1 male to female harvest ratio to provide additional horseshoe crab eggs to migratory shorebirds.

“This is a strong step in the right direction in ensuring more critically important horseshoe crab eggs will be on the beach when Red Knots stop to refuel on their long migration northward,” said Darin Schroeder, Vice President of Conservation Advocacy for American Bird Conservancy. “Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded that without greater conservation of horseshoe crabs, the eastern Red Knot (rufa) subspecies could be extinct within a decade. Gov. O’Malley and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are to be commended for taking this action, which we hope will ensure future generations of Americans will be able to see this magnificent bird like past generations have.”
(Photo above: Red Knot Feeding -

Monday, March 2, 2009

Partners In Flight and Rainforest Biodiversity Group Fly Together!

RBG has officially aligned with Partners In Flight Costa Rica! The partnership aims to bring awareness of the importance of North-South American bird conservation. We at RBG are looking forward to this new partnership and believe it is an oppotunity to advance our conservation initatives within Costa Rica. Stay tuned to The Macaw for more information about this and other RBG developments.

To find out more about Partners in Flight and its philosophy.

Tiny bird 'backpacks' help to track migration habits

New "backpack" research technology could significantly increase our knowledge of wintering migrants habitats. The fact these backpacks fit on birds the size of thrushes and martins is testimant to how far this technology has come in recent years and like everyone else, I'm anxious to see where this takes neo-tropical conservation in the near future. Read the full article on bird backpacksAdd Image.

A purple martin wears a miniaturized geolocator backpack so that York University researchers can track its migration route. (TIMOTHY J. MORTON The Associated Press)