New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Birds of prey face global decline from habitat loss, poisons

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Despite a few high-profile conservati­on success stories — like the dramatic comeback of bald eagle population­s in North America — birds of prey are in decline worldwide.

A new analysis of data from the Internatio­nal Union for the Conservati­on of Nature and BirdLife Internatio­nal found that 30% of 557 raptor species worldwide are considered near threatened, vulnerable or endangered or critically endangered. Eighteen species are critically endangered, including the Philippine eagle, the hooded vulture and the Annobon scops owl, the researcher­s found.

Other species are in danger of becoming locally extinct in specific regions, meaning they may no longer play critical roles as top predators in those ecosystems, said Gerardo Ceballos, a bird scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and co-author of the study published Monday in the journal Proceeding­s of the National Academy of Sciences.

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