For Immediate Release
Two Endangered Birds, Native to Galápagos and Papua New Guinea, to Gain Protection
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - As the result of a Center for Biological Diversity settlement with the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last June, a federal rule was finalized
today to protect the Galápagos petrel
and Heinroth’s shearwater as endangered under the Endangered Species
Act. As part of the settlement, the Service also published proposed
listing determinations for 12 birds from Peru, Bolivia, Europe, and the
islands of French Polynesia.
these species under the Endangered Species Act will give them a better
chance of survival by prohibiting certain actions and allowing
resources to flow toward their conservation,” said Center staffer Jacki
Lopez. “And it will help attract worldwide attention to the urgent
plight of these animals.”
The Service originally received petitions to list more than 70 species
of the planet’s most imperiled birds — which live 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 spent the better part of two decades refusing to finalize
listings for many of these species despite the fact that all of them
had been found to warrant protection. Only because of recent Center
lawsuits, negotiations, and court findings has progress been made
toward protecting these species under the Act. As one judge bluntly
noted in 2008, “If the Service were allowed to continue at its current
rate, it is hard to imagine anytime in the near or distant future when
these species will be entitled to listing.”
Last year, the Center again notified the Service it would 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. The final and proposed listings published today are the
result of that settlement agreement.
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
lets the Fish and Wildlife Service encourage conservation programs and
provide personnel and training. 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.
Background on the birds
The Galápagos petrel is a bird native to the epic Galápagos Islands.
Introduced predators pose the greatest threat to this dark-rumped bird.
The Heinroth’s shearwater is an elusive bird thought to breed in Papua
New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; this bird is similarly threatened
by the introduction of predatory species, and is also harmed by the
destruction of habitat through deforestation as well as some commercial
longline fishing operations.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has also proposed listing as endangered
the ash-breasted tit-tyrant and royal cinclodes (native to Peru and
Bolivia); the Junin grebe, Junin rail, Peruvian plantcutter, and
white-browed tit-spinetail (native to Peru); and the Cantabrian
capercaillie (of Spain), Eiao Polynesian warbler and Marquesan imperial
pigeon (from French Polynesia), the greater adjutant (found in Cambodia
and India), Jerdon’s courser (from India), and the slender-billed
curlew (from Europe and Africa).
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.