Preventing Extinctions - Pacific

A female Tahiti Monarch: 2012 saw the best breeding season on recent record for this species. Photo: SOP-Manu

Since 2008, BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Programme has taken action for over 500 (40%) of the world’s threatened bird species, including 59 species considered Critically Endangered and at imminent risk of extinction. BirdLife is the global Red List authority on the threat status of birds, and has an unrivalled combination of sound science and practical experience, which is constantly refined, updated and shared throughout the BirdLife Partnership.

The Pacific has more threatened bird species per unit of land area, than any other region in the world, and is home to around a quarter of the world's globally threatened bird species. This is because Pacific birds evolved on tiny, oceanic islands, in isolation from predators and competitors. Exposure to humans and the alien species they brought with them, such as rats, cats, pigs, and invasive plants, resulted in a wave of extinctions. 

Archaeological evidence suggests that the current avifauna is only half of what was present prior to man’s arrival, and 44 species have already been confirmed as becoming extinct in the region over the last 500 years. Habitat loss has also had a devastating effect on restricted-range species in the Pacific, many of which depend on forests. 

These threats to bird populations can be reduced by intensive, and often expensive, conservation effort. BirdLife Partners are currently working to reduce the pressures on a number of species across the region, including 14 of the Critically Endangered species.

Sixteen species that occur in the region that are classed as Data Deficient, and nine listed as Critically Endangered have currently unknown populations or haven’t been seen for decades. We plan to encourage greater effort to address these gaps in our knowledge.

Many species, in particular seabirds, once thought of as common, are also declining. The BirdLife Partnership is well placed to halt these declines. Working  at local, national and regional levels, we are able to bring the right people together to put in place conservation policy and action, targeted at priority areas where the benefits will have greatest impact.

To find out more about the work that Species Guardians are involved in across the region go to next page.

You can download State of the Birds reports for several Pacific countries here:

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