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Zino`s Petrel endangered by NATO

BirdLife International calls for the suspension of Portugal`s NATO radar plan?

BirdLife International today called for the suspension of a proposed NATO radar station in Madeira, Portugal, because of concerns it could have an impact on the Zino`s Petrel Pterodroma madeira, a Critically Endangered species which breeds nearby. In its letter to NATO, BirdLife also asks for a full and appropriate assessment to be conducted which takes full account of the requirements and conservation objectives of the European Union`s Birds Directive [Fatbirder asks what is the worth of a directive that can be ignored to let in new EEC members such as Malta!] because the proposed site is designated as a Special Protection Area and so has the highest level of protection under European law.The proposed radar site near the summit of Pico do Areeiro is in close proximity to the last known breeding colony of Zino`s Petrel, a species that numbers fewer than 20 to 30 breeding pairs and is Europe`s most threatened breeding bird. BirdLife is critical of the proposal because it believes the Portuguese Government did not evaluate all of the potential risks involved in its partial assessment conducted earlier this year, and which has not been released in full. BirdLife also consider the mitigation measures proposed in letters to the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (BirdLife Partner in Portugal) from the Portuguese Ministry of Defence to be inadequate.Based on the limited information available, BirdLife is concerned that the construction and operation of the radar may have a detrimental impact on the Zino`s Petrel. While the Portuguese Ministry of Defence claim its partial assessment shows there is an absence of evidence that the radar station will adversely impact on Zino`s Petrel, SPEA/BirdLife consider that the partial nature of the assessment means it cannot be taken as evidence of the absence of such impacts. SPEA/BirdLife is also concerned that fledgling Zino`s Petrels may be attracted to the station`s night lights and accidentally collide with them.The Zino`s Petrel is on the verge of extinction. BirdLife International sees no margin for error in this case said the Head of BirdLife`s European Division, Canan Orhun. Given the lack of information about its potential impacts, and according to the precautionary principle, construction of the radar must either be suspended or a new site found for it.There are already too many threats to the survival of the Zino`s Petrel. This radar station could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel`s back, said the President of SPEA, Helder Costa. It is now up to the Portuguese Ministry of Defence and NATO to demonstrate that their plans will not adversely impact the last breeding colony of Zino`s Petrel in the world. He went on to say This is a test case of whether national security can outweigh the potential survival of an entire species.For further information please contact SPEA President Helder Costa in Portugal, on + 35 962410165 (mobile) or email: spea@spea.pt or BirdLife International Communications Manager Michael Szabo in Cambridge, UK, on +44 (0)1223 279903 or +44 (0)7779 018 332 (mobile) or email michael.szabo@BirdLife.org.uk This issue will feature in the next edition of World Birdwatch, BirdLife International`s award-winning magazine. Protests should be made to the Portuguese Government at: gmapm@mapm.gov.pt

4th July 2014