Saving the World’s Most Endangered Birds

Cambodia"s endangered Bengal Florican is one species targeted by BirdLife International"s new campaign.© BirdLife

The UK-based nonprofit BirdLife International has launched an ambitious new campaign, dubbed the Species Champions Initiative, to save 189 critically endangered bird species around the world from extinction over the next five years. The group’s unique approach calls on corporations, individuals and other environmental organizations to contribute $38 million to protect habitat, control threatening invasive species and raise awareness internationally.

All of the bird species targeted in the initiative are on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species, an international registry of critically endangered plants and wildlife. BirdLife International reports that it will use initial funding to create a conservation plan in Mexico, regenerate forests in Djibouti, establish a protected area in Brazil and restore grasslands in Cambodia—all in the name of saving specific critically endangered bird species in those respective countries. Already, 21 species have been lost, according to BirdLife, from the Hawaiian honeycreeper Poo-uli to Brazil’s Spixs Macaw.

"Critically endangered birds represent a very vulnerable part of global biodiversity, and all need urgent action," says Mark Gately of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is working with BirdLife International to save Cambodia’s endangered Bengal Florican. "Through conserving them, many sites and habitats important for other species will also be conserved."

Sources: BirdLife; MSNBC