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Festival celebrates Caribbean’s unique birds

focus on the threat of climate change…

Today sees the launch of the 6th Annual Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival: one month of events dedicated to raising support and awareness of the region's 208 bird species found nowhere else on Earth. Coordinated by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) -the largest regional organisation devoted to bird conservation in the Caribbean– with whom BirdLife works closely, the festival is taken up locally by many Caribbean islands. The aim of the festival is to increase public awareness of the region’s exceptionally rich but threatened bird life, using the Caribbean's celebrated endemic birds as flagships for conservation.

The annual event last year attracted over 20,000 participants.

This year's Festival theme will focus on the threat of climate change to the region’s biological diversity. "With climate change, our forests, watersheds, coastal wetlands, coral reefs and beaches are all expected to take yet another turn for the worst in ways we cannot even fully appreciate,” said Andrew Dobson, President of the SCSCB. “The only thing we are certain of is that native species, such as the wild birds of the Caribbean, are today faced with a suite of threats greater than they have ever confronted in their history."

Recent reports from the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have highlighted the Caribbean islands as being at great risk from projected impacts of climate change.“Biodiversity and people are both being adversely affected by climate change. Highlighting global warming in this year’s festival will help promote conservation actions that benefit all life.” said David Wege, BirdLife’s Caribbean Program Manager.

The festival will comprise public activities in each of the islands, such as bird-watching excursions, lectures, photographic exhibitions and school-based art competitions.

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival will last for a month; starting from today, Earth Day (22nd April), and running through to International Biodiversity Day on May 22nd.

4th July 2014