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Georgetown Boost; Nepal IBA Guide; Albatross race?

Festive boost for Georgetown

The Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society has discovered a breeding pair of Festive Parrots Amazona festiva in the capital city of Georgetown, Guyana. Georgetown is well known for its diverse bird life (199 recorded species), but this is the first time that the Festive Parrot has been recorded in the city.

The birds were discovered on 30 September by Andy Narine, the President of the Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society, nesting in the city's Botanic Gardens. There is no clear data on the population of these birds in Guyana and the Society is hoping to carry out more detailed study of the species. In the meantime they will continue to monitor the health of the two Festive Parrots in the Botanic Gardens and record their behaviour.

Although not classified by BirdLife as globally threatened, Festive Parrots are listed on Appendix II of CITES. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival.

The Guyana Amazon Tropical Birds Society is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Guyana’s avifauna and has carried out bird surveys in various regions of Guyana. The Society has produced the first Checklist of the Birds of Georgetown based on years of observing and recording birds in Georgetown, as well as offering birdwatching tours for tourists and educational activities for schools.New IBA guide for Nepal

Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) has published a landmark inventory of important habitats for birds and biodiversity in Nepal. The book was launched in Kathmandu on 13 November and the event was attended by representatives from the Nepalese Government.

The publication titled Important Birds Areas in Nepal: key sites for conservation is a joint effort by BCN and BirdLife towards protecting the country's critically important biodiversity hotspots. The publication highlights 27 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that merit some form of protection. 15 of these IBAs are included within existing protected areas while the other 12 are still unprotected. The book also presents the diversity of Nepalese habitats and threats to these IBAs and associated bird species.Our recent work will help government agencies to focus their conservation priorities to these sites which represent just 20% of the country’s total area. Protecting these habitats will safeguard up to 90% of Nepal’s rich natural heritage. — Dr Hem Sagar Baral, BCN

The publication highlights the objectives of the IBA programme in Nepal, as well as required actions to conserve these key sites. It is expected that it will help to fill the gap in Nepal's National Biodiversity Inventory and help the Government to meet its commitments on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The book will provide guidance to decision makers and planners to focus on sustainable use of available resources, both financial and human, and avoid negative impacts in land-use and development planning.Albatrosses race against extinction as yachts set sail

Representatives from BirdLife and its Partners in Spain (SEO) and the UK (the RSPB) joined a host of invited VIPs to watch the launch of the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race, in Vigo, Spain last weekend.

Amid a roar of cannons, seven ocean racing yachts set sail on a 31,000-nautical-mile journey, which will take the vessels through some of the richest albatross waters in the world. The yachts are currently off the coast of North Africa, approaching the Canary Islands.The RSPB's Chief Executive, Graham Wynne, commented, "It is a humbling moment to watch seven crews set sail bravely into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. During their journey, crew members will have prolonged contact with albatrosses - birds that will be almost constant companions during the Southern Ocean legs of the race."

19 of the world's 21 species of albatross are considered by BirdLife to be globally threatened and an estimated 60,000 birds will be killed on longlines during the course of the race. The Volvo Ocean Race officially adopted the Save the Albatross campaign in October and has already attracted the support of a range of high-profile individuals, including HRH Prince Charles, Sir David Attenborough and Ellen MacArthur.

Visit the new Save the Albatross web site at http://www.savethealbatross.net

4th July 2014