Nature is amazing
BirdLife News Round-up: January 2010
Watching a butterfly weaving its way along a summer meadow is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But how many of us realise that these fragile creatures can undertake annual migrations of several thousand kilometres? A new study has shed light on how they manage it - with an inbuilt compass that enables them to select winds which will take them in their chosen direction at speeds of up to 100 km per hour. Nature is truly amazing and something to celebrate.
Last month the United Nations launched 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. As the world's largest partnership of conservation organisations, BirdLife is an official partner of the International Year of Biodiversity and we’re joining in the global celebrations (International Year of Biodiversity).
In January, for the International Year of Biodiversity we presented a photo exhibition of Europe's natural wonders within the European Parliament (Biodiversity on the brink). BirdLife Partners were also actively celebrating biodiversity: SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) announced the winner of their photo competition (Great Bittern wins SEO/BirdLife’s photo competition), and a member of DOF staff (BirdLife in Denmark) in their spare time created and launched a new CD 'Music & Migration' in support of our Born to Travel Campaign (Music and Migration - music for the birds).
We are all dependant on healthy and diverse ecosystems for clean water, food, a stable climate, and much more. Yet unsustainable human actions are degrading ecosystems throughout the world. The short-term economic and other benefits that may be derived from exploitation of our forests, wetlands and oceans are significantly outweighed by the far greater long-term damage to human livelihoods and health. With threats to biodiversity growing faster than ever, BirdLife knows that International Year of Biodiversity is an important opportunity to recognise the urgent need for more action to halt its loss.
We reported last month how invasive alien species, ranging from disease and plants, to rats and goats, are one of the top three threats to life on this planet (Impact of nature's invading aliens measured for the first time). We also helped to launch two petitions, the first to better protect seabirds within European waters (It's time to protect Europe's seabirds), the second to stop the illegal spring hunting of migrants on the island of Malta (International action to stop illegal hunting in Malta). Please take a moment to sign the petitions if you haven’t already.
Finally, it was with great excitement that we announced that the breeding site of one of the world's least known birds has finally been found in the remote and rugged Wakhan Corridor of the Pamir Mountains of north-eastern Afghanistan ('World's least known bird' found breeding in Afghanistan). First discovered in India in 1867, more than a century elapsed before a second Large-billed Reed-warbler was spotted. Now we know where they breed, conservationists now stand a chance at protecting it.
From the familiar summer butterfly, to the elusive bird, we’re continually reminded that Biodiversity certainly has the ability to surprise us. Amazing.
Credits: Nick Askew