Business answers conservation call
Rio Tinto Alcan, a division of Rio Tinto - one of the world’s leading mining and exploration companies - has become the latest corporation to join the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, a major new initiative that is spearheading greater conservation action, awareness and funding support for the world’s most threatened birds.
The announcement that Rio Tinto Alcan has become BirdLife Species Champion for Kakapo was made today by HIH Princess Takamado (Honorary President of BirdLife International) at the BirdLife World Conservation Conference that is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week.
“Thanks to the Kakapo Recovery Programme, there are now more than 90 individuals, which is about an 80 per cent increase in the population since 1985—a remarkable improvement”, said Paul Hemburrow, General Manager New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (Rio Tinto Alcan). “The program has also helped us build environmental awareness among the local community."
Kakapo, Strigops habroptila is a giant, green, flightless nocturnal parrot from New Zealand which is famous for its rather bizarre mating ritual. Males sit on mountain tops and make a loud booming noise which attracts females who then shuffle up the slope to mate.
The Kakapo Recovery Programme is a unique partnership between Rio Tinto Alcan, The New Zealand Government Department of Conservation and The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society (BirdLife in New Zealand) that has been in existence for more than 20 years.
“We are delighted to recognise Rio Tinto Alcan as BirdLife Species Champion for Kakapo”, said Jim Lawrence, the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Manager. “For many years Rio Tinto has been leading the way for others in the business sector by helping us tackle the ever-increasing threat of extinction”.
“We are delighted to recognise Rio Tinto Alcan as BirdLife Species Champion for Kakapo” —Jim Lawrence, BirdLife International
The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme provides business with a unique opportunity to get involved in a global conservation initiative. The rigorous science underpinning its priority setting means that companies choosing to become Species Champions can be confident that their support is channelled to those species most urgently needing it, and for best practice conservation that is the highest priority. The programme’s aim is to protect all of the world’s threatened birds starting with those most at risk, the 190 classified as Critically Endangered.
This science base is exemplified in a new publication, Critically Endangered Birds: a Global Audit.
“This is the first ever review of the state of the world’s Critically Endangered birds, the pressures they face, and the actions needed to prevent their extinction”, says Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Research and Indicators Coordinator. “It identifies the action required from individuals, organisations, governments and the business sector.”
What is now needed is action. BirdLife is increasing its conservation action through the Preventing Extinctions Programme and engaging with the business sector to deliver results.
“We know that conservation works and we have outlined 10 key actions that will go a long way to preventing future extinctions. We now need the political will and resolve to implement these actions at a national and international level”, Dr Butchart concludes.
For further information, interviews or images please contact: Martin Fowlie at BirdLife International in Cambridge, UK: tel. +44 (0)1223 279813; email@example.com
Notes for Editors
BirdLife International is a global alliance of conservation organisations working in more than 100 countries and territories that, together, are the leading authority on the status of birds, their habitats and the issues and problems affecting them
BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme is identifying the individuals and organisations best equipped to carry out the work to save each of the world’s 190 Critically Endangered birds. These Species Guardians are then matched with Species Champions –individuals, organisations or institutions able to provide the money to enable the work to be carried out. For more information got www.birdlife.org/extinction
BirdLife is the Red List Authority for birds for the IUCN Red List. IUCN Red List categories include: Critically Endangered (facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild), Endangered (facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild), Vulnerable (facing a high risk of extinction in the wild), Near Threatened (close to qualifying for Vulnerable) and Least Concern (species not qualifying for the other categories, including widespread and abundant species). Species are assigned to categories using criteria with quantitative thresholds for population size, population trend, range size and other parameters. For more information visit: http://www.iucnredlist.org
European settlement, which brought predators such as rats, stoats and cats, devastated numbers of Kakapo after 1840. By 1995 there were only 51 individuals left, but the impetus provided by the Kakapo Recovery Programme meant that the population has now grown to at least 86, and there is cautious optimism that the species has a future. With a particular emphasis on scientific research, the plan is designed to increase breeding frequency, the productivity of nesting attempts and to determine why Kakapo breed so infrequently. For more information click here
- These 10 measures alone will go a long way to preventing future extinctions:
- Prevent the veterinary use of diclofenac in Asia and Africa
- Apply seabird by catch mitigation measures in longline fisheries
- Control invasive alien species
- Control the caged bird trade and unsustainable hunting
- Tackle multiple threats on Hawaii, and on French and UK overseas territories
- Protect remnant forests on São Tomé, Comoro Islands and Sangihe, Indonesia
- Safeguard Atlantic Forest remnants in Brazil
- Protect and manage tropical forest Important Bird Areas in Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico
- Strengthen effective wetland conservation efforts in Asia
- Search for ‘lost’ species in Brazil, India, Russia, Samoa and elsewhere