Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Endangered Species Act protects 2 more birds

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said today the Endangered Species Act covers two birds from Ecuador: Black-breasted Puffleg (Eriocnemis nigrivestis) and Medium Tree-Finch (Camarhynchus pauper). The puffleg, a hummingbird, is native to Volcán Pichincha, and the tree-finch is endemic to the island of Floreana in the Galapagos Islands.

The Black-breasted Puffleg population has declined between 50 and 79 percent in the past 12 years, due to habitat destruction, alteration, conversion and fragmentation. The species’ already small and declining population makes the Black-breasted Puffleg particularly vulnerable to extinction.

The Medium Tree-Finch is at risk primarily due to the introduced parasitic fly, Philornis downsi. The effects of P. downsi parasitism in finches is severe, accompanied by high incidences of nestling mortality as well as lower fledgling success, reduced nestling growth and reduced hemoglobin levels in nestlings. In addition, the clearing of native vegetation for agriculture and ranching; the destruction and degradation of habitat caused by introduced animals and plants; predation; and inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms are threatening the continued existence of the species.

Granting foreign species protection under the Endangered Species Act means import or export of any of the species, or their parts or products, as well as sale in interstate or foreign commerce, is prohibited. The only exceptions are for scientific purposes and to assist in efforts aimed at enhancing the propagation or survival of these species.

The final rule appeared in the Federal Register on July 27, 2010. For more information, visit the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.

Black-breasted Puffleg courtesy of Steve Blain/The Internet Bird Collection
Medium Tree-Finch courtesy of

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