Press Release: Condition of waterbirds in Asia highly worrisome, slight improvement elsewhere
Wetlands International Launched the First Interactive Online Database on Waterbird Population Estimates at Ramsar COP11
Asia in decline
The latest update of waterbird populations and trends coordinated by Wetlands International reveals that in Asia, which harbors the largest proportion of the world’s waterbird populations, 50% of the known populations are decreasing and only 20% are increasing compared to 2006. The primary reasons for this poor situation are rapid economic development, and rising and dense human populations that result in wetland loss and degradation and reduced allocations of water needed to sustain the functions of these habitats as well as loss of intertidal areas.
Global trend slightly improving
Since 2006, there has been a slightly improved condition of the world’s waterbird populations. In 2006, 44% of known populations were still decreasing and 17% were increasing. Today, of all existing populations, 38% are declining and 20% are increasing, while 39% are stable and 4% are fluctuating. This slight improvement could be a result of better implementation of legal and financial instruments to govern the conservation and sustainable use of waterbird populations, as witnessed in regions such as Europe and North America.
This series is the authoritative and approved source of up-to-date ‘1% population thresholds’ for governments worldwide for the identification and designation of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
Extinct or critically endangered species
To date, three grebe species have become extinct and three other South American grebe species are endangered. These species are restricted to a single or small number of lakes which are threatened by human developments. Under the IUCN Red List 2012, 24% (212) of all 871 waterbird species are categorised as globally threatened of which 28 are Critically Endangered.
Call to governments
“There is little time for complacency - our information clearly demonstrates that focused conservation that results in small improvements in a few populations around the world continues to be overridden by major declines of many waterbird populations, particularly in Asia, Afrotropics and Central/South America,” says Dr Taej Mundkur, Flyway Programme Manager at Wetlands International. Adding that, “Government Parties of Ramsar Convention, UN organisations, NGOs, the private sector and public, all need to take urgent conservation measures to conserve waterbirds and strengthen management of their habitats worldwide.”
Interactive online database
The fifth edition is released as a user-friendly interactive online database (wpe.wetlands.org). This provides universal access to all five Waterbird Population Estimates editions as well as the Conservation Status Review editions produced for the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, as part of Wetlands International’s continuing commitment to supporting the Ramsar Convention and all those concerned with wetland and waterbird conservation and wise use.
Click here for more information on Wetlands International Waterbird Programme or contact:
Dr Taej Mundkur
Tel: +31 (0)318 660910
Ms. Susanna Tol
Senior Communications Officer
Tel: +31 (0)318 660933
Wetlands International www.wetlands.org
African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement www.unep-aewa.org/
BirdLife International www.birdlife.org
IUCN Red List www.redlist.org
Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway www.eaaflyway.net
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands www.ramsar.org/
Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network www.whsrn.org/