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Crested Ibis? Poverty Initiative?Rare Parrots

Prime Ministers of China and Japan united in efforts to conserve Endangered Ibis

Prime Ministers of China and Japan have met and discussed the conservation of one of Asia’s flagship birds, Crested Ibis Nipponia Nippon. The move has been deemed a crucial step forward in the conservation of one of the world’s most threatened species.

This important move recognizes that working together is the best way forward for the conservation of the ibis, a species that in the 1980s was considered on the brink of extinction.

The two Prime Ministers met at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in the Philippines.

The step represents years of hard work by a number of specialists, scientists, NGOs and by the two governments involved, both of which have been working toward the re-establishment of wild populations of ibis. Conservationists have highlighted that continued success will be dependent on drawing effectively on the wider expertise of all involved.In 1981 the last five Crested Ibis individuals in Japan were taken into captivity, making the species extinct in the wild in Japan. However in May of the same year, seven wild ibis were rediscovered in central China. By June 2002 this wild population had maintained a steady increase, partly through efforts to protect nest sites and feeding habitats. Current estimates suggest that there are more than 500 wild individuals in China.

Captive breeding remains one of the most important priorities for China and Japan, both of which have had notable recent successes. The two nations are now working toward the reintroduction of these populations back into the wild, with China donating a number of ibis to strengthen the genetic stock of the captive population in Japan, improving their resistance to disease and other threats associated with inbreeding.

News of the meeting has been applauded by conservationists at BirdLife International: “We are very much hoping this beautiful bird will fly freely in the sky of China and Japan as a symbol of the friendship between the two countries in future.” said Noritaka Ichida, Director, BirdLife International Asia Division. New BirdLife report investigates poverty for those living within Important Bird Areas

A new report by BirdLife International has underlined further the importance of people and their livelihoods in working toward the long-term conservation of birds and their habitats.

‘Livelihoods and the environment at Important Bird Areas: Listening to local voices’, is the result of a number of ‘Participatory Poverty Assessments’ carried out by BirdLife Partners in fourteen nations across the Americas, Africa and Asia. The report presents the findings of these assessments, giving new information on the lives of local people at Important Bird Areas (IBAs), their perceptions and experiences of poverty and the role of the environment in people’s lives.

“The poor are often hidden from view. Without knowing who they are and how they depend on the environment we’re effectively limiting their involvement in decision-making.” said David Thomas, Head of Site Action Unit at BirdLife International and author of ‘Listening to local voices’. “This report has helped us to identify the marginalised groups and to understand their dependence on resources within IBAs. This knowledge is immensely important for the BirdLife Partnership; we can’t guarantee long-term wildlife conservation without incorporating the needs of people.”Many of the world’s most impoverished countries are also those that contain the majority of the world’s Globally Threatened Birds.

“This makes attention to people’s needs all the more important.” said Dr Thomas “To make IBA strategies workable, so that local communities are not further impoverished, conservation approaches must be relevant to a climate where poverty reduction, and meeting basic needs, is high on the list of priorities for local people and their governments.”

Important Bird Areas are an important part of BirdLife International’s work. The IBA programme applies a set of internationally agreed criteria to identify sites of global importance for birds and biodiversity conservation. At many IBAs, people form Local Conservation Groups - organised, independent groups of voluntary individuals who work in partnership with relevant stakeholders, to promote conservation and sustainable development at IBAs and other key biodiversity sites.

“Linking local people and conservation is not a new concept, but this report emphasises its importance.” highlights Dr Thomas. “At many IBAs, support to the development of sustainable livelihoods is forming a successful and integrated part of the conservation approach. Good examples are ongoing ecotourism initiatives in Bolivia, fruit-farming initiatives in Burundi and sustainable farming practices using non-timber forest products in Ghana.”The report, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, draws together a number of key lessons learnt from the study, highlighting the multidimensional aspect of poverty and the need for more focus on the strong links between the poor and the environment.

Other findings are more specific to Important Bird Areas: “The results indicate that environmental resources of IBAs can help reduce the vulnerability of communities, opening the door for linking conservation to poverty reduction.” states Dr. Thomas. Enhanced measures to influence policy processes also feature heavily among the conclusions; “Many decisions are made nationally or are affected by global processes, and engaging effectively at other levels will be necessary for local efforts to achieve their potential.” the report concludes.Rare parrot draws in celebrities at ecotourism centre launch

Miss Bolivia 2006 was among those attending celebrations for the opening of a new ecotourism centre in the country. The centre is part of a conservation program focusing on the Red-fronted Macaw Ara rubrogenys, being undertaken by Armonia (BirdLife in Bolivia).

The centre, or Ecotourism Cabin ‘Paraba Frente Roja’ (Red-fronted Macaw), is part of a conservation programme developed by Armonia. The programme is working in a variety of ways to help conserve the macaw; offering technical advice to farmers, drawing up agreements to protect important habitats and working to promote environmental education, in this case through ecotourism.

At the launch, Miss Bolivia, Jessica Jordan, outlined her support for the Ecotourism Cabin in front of 45 attendees, many of whom were from nearby communities and the municipality of San Carlos.Of the programme, Bennett Hennessey, Executive Director of Armonia said: "We have been working towards finding a way in which the Red-fronted Macaw can live alongside the livelihood activities of the communities in the area. The Ecotourism Cabin will provide us a great opportunity to do this. It will offer sustainable support to the local community, while giving long-term protection to this threatened Endemic species in Bolivia."

Red-fronted Macaw is listed by BirdLife International as Endangered due mainly to habitat degradation in the country. The distribution of the bird is split into a number of vulnerable subpopulations, spread over the Misque, Caine and Pilcomayo rivers in the inter-Andean valleys.

The Ecotourism Cabin is situated in one of the natural habitats of the parrot, alongside other endemic birds like Cliff Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus luchsi and Bolivian Blackbird Oreopsar bolivianus, both of which breed on the cliff face with Red-fronted Macaw. The Cabin will offer visitors a chance to see and learn more about the birds and their habitats at close quarters.

The Ecotourism Cabin, was built with support of Naomi Lupka Trust – Ben Olewine, Conservation des Espèces el des Populations Animales – CEPA and The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

4th July 2014