Thursday, September 13, 2012

New bird species can be gone soon

Antioquia Wren (Thryophilus sernai)

Researchers at the National University of Colombia spent 2 years studying the Antioquia Wren (Thryophilus sernai), a new bird species first discovered in 2010. This species is only found in the Cauca River in Colombia's Ituango municipality. This wren is distinct from other wren species due to its colouring and vocalisations

Threats and Mitigation
An increase in mining, tourism and deforestation has resulted in rapid habitat loss for this species. Among the biggest threats to the dry-land forest of Colombia is the hydroelectic project in Pescadero-Ituango. The biggest dam in Colombia is expected to flood the forest, which happens to be the Antioquia wren’s best habitat. The forest is also home to other threatened species such as the military macaw (Ara militaris) and the recurve-billed bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii). 
Mitigation actions between conservation groups and the government  are now underway. Perhaps the most likely solution is to establish a protected area in the unflooded forest upstream of the dam. If the area is big enough to sustain a viable population of wrens and macaws, it might rescue the species from other threats such as logging. 

Conservation of the Colombian dry forest 
Military Macaw (Ara militaris)
The dry forest of Colombia are also believed to be more endangered than the colombian tropical forest and its protection is critical as the dry forest is less studied. The discovery of the Antioquia Wren is an example of the many species that might still be hiding in the dry forests of Colombia and understanding this species and raising awareness towards it will greatly benefit conservation efforts in this little-known dry forest of Colombia.

“Bird conservation efforts have a history of giving back to local communities for the long-haul in a fashion that has been a win-win for all concerned. The conservation programs are helping to not only protect and rehabilitate the land and forests but they also provide improved habitat for birds and other wildlife that ultimately bring in tourism dollars. And we’ve demonstrated a variety of conservation and farming techniques that benefit wildlife while at the same time offer equal or even higher farming returns” 
-Lina Daza Rojas, executive director of FundaciĆ³n ProAves.

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