Thirty-One of Earth's Most Imperiled Birds to Gain Protection

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jacki Lopez
(415) 436-9682, x 305
or jlopez@biologicaldiversity.org

Thirty-One of Earth's Most Imperiled Birds to Gain Protection

SAN FRANCISCO - The Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday that will compel the agency to
provide protection for scores of the world’s most imperiled bird
species and come into compliance with the Endangered Species Act. The
Service has committed itself to publishing final listing determinations for
six species of foreign birds and proposed listings for an additional 25
species, in accordance with a negotiated timeline that terminates on
December 29, 2009.

The
Service originally received petitions to list more than 70 species of the
world’s most imperiled birds – which inhabit locations
throughout the world, including Brazil,
Spain, India, Eastern Europe, and the Marquesas Islands – in 1980 and 1991. In
violation of the Endangered Species Act, the agency has spent the better
part of two decades making recycled petition findings that these species
continue to warrant listing, but that their listing is precluded due to
higher-priority listings. Any progress that has been made toward protecting
these species has been the result of Center lawsuits, negotiations, and
court findings that if the Service continues at such a pace, “many of
the species in question may very well be extinct by the time they are found
to warrant a listing.”

So
the Center again notified the Service of its intention to file suit for
violations of the Endangered Species Act, and as a result of that notice
reached a settlement with the agency to bring it into compliance with the
Act.

“We
are encouraged that the new administration is showing signs of clearing up
its foreign listing program backlog and finally accepting its duty to list
these extremely rare birds under the Endangered Species Act,” said
Center International Program staffer Jacki Lopez. “Listing foreign
species under the Act is an important step in spurring increased
international recognition of those species’ urgent plights.”

Endangered
Species Act listing provides substantial benefits to foreign species. It
authorizes the president to provide financial assistance for the
development and management of programs in foreign countries; and authorizes
the Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage conservation programs for
foreign endangered species and provide personnel and training for these
programs. Beyond these basic protections, the Act also implements the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and
Fauna, a treaty designed to prevent species extinctions caused by
international trade.

The
Service itself acknowledges the benefits of listing foreign species to draw
worldwide attention to their plight, to make available U.S. expertise and U.S. funds, and to compel the
strict regulation of the import and export of protected species.

In
order to adhere to the negotiated timeline, the Fish and Wildlife Service
promises to publish final listing determinations for the Chatham petrel (Pterodroma axillaris), magenta petrel
(Pterodroma magentae), and
Cook’s petrel (Pterodroma cookii),
in New Zealand; the Fiji petrel (Pterodroma
macgillivrayi) in Fiji; the Galapagos petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia) in Ecuador; and
the Heinroth’s shearwater (Puffinus
heinrothi) in Papua New Guinea.

The
Service will propose listings for the Junin flightless grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii), Junin rail (Laterallus tuerosi), Brazilian
merganser (Mergus octosetaceus),
Caucau guan (Crax alberti),
blue-billed curassow (Penelope perspicax),
gorgeted wood-quail (Odontophorus
strophium), southeastern rufous-vented groundcuckoo (Neomorphus geoffroyi dulcis),
Margaretta's hermit (Phaethornis malaris
margarettae), Esmeraldas woodstar (Chaetocerus berlepschi), royal cinclodes (Cinclodes aricomae), white-browed
tit-spinetail (Leptasthenura xenothorax),
black-hooded antwren (Formicivora
erythronotos), fringe-backed fire-eye (Pyriglena atra), brown-banded antpitta
(Grallaria milleri),
Kaempfer's tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus
kaempferi), ash-breasted tit-tyrant (Anairetes alpinus), Peruvian plantcutter (Phytotoma raimondii), and
cherry-throated tanager (Nemosia rourei)
in South America; the greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius), salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), and Eiao
Polynesian warbler (Acrocephalus cafier
aquilonis) in Southeast Asia; the Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) in
Spain; the Jerdon's courser (Rhinoptilus
bitorquatus) in India; the slender-billed curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) in Russia,
Europe, and North Africa; and the Marquesan imperial pigeon (Ducula galeata) in the South Pacific.

Learn
more about these species and the
Center’s campaign to save them
.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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