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18 more raptor species listed

A further eighteen raptor species - seven of them critically endangered – have been placed on a protected list as urgent threats to migratory birds of prey persist in Africa.


The new listings include some 12 vulture types - including the Hooded, White-rumped and Lappet-faced species - due to the serious decline to their numbers in Africa caused by illegal take and trade and poisoning by toxic chemicals.


The 18 raptors were added to Annex 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey at the second meeting of signatories held in early October in Trondheim, Norway.


The memorandum, also known as the Raptors MOU, was concluded under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) as a special instrument to address the species decline. The Convention is administered by UNEP.


“Vultures are nature's garbage collectors. These scavengers prevent the spread of disease and thereby directly protect human health. We must preserve animal and public health in Africa by maintaining this unique self-purification capacity of Nature,” stressed CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers.


Efforts to stop the dramatic decline of vultures were also supported by Iran, which announced its decision to ban diclofenac - a drug that almost wiped out vulture populations in India.


A Multi-Species Action Plan for all Old World Vultures was furthermore started to be developed to halt their decline. The initiative to develop such plans using the Raptors MOU is also included in CMS Resolution 11.14 on Migratory Birds and Flyways.


Countries that have signed the Raptors MOU agreed to work together to better protect vultures, eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Comoros also joined the MOU at the meeting, bringing the total number of signatories to 53.


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