Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Six South American Bird Species Protected as Endangered under the ESA

July 24, 2012

Contacts:
Vanessa Kauffman
703-358-2138
vanessa_kauffman@fws.gov

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Six South American Bird Species Protected as Endangered under the ESA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a final rule to protect six South American bird species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the ash-breasted tit-tyrant, Junín grebe, Junín rail, Peruvian plantcutter, royal cinclodes, and white-browed tit-spinetail. Two of these species, the ash-breasted tit-tyrant and royal cinclodes, are native to Peru and Bolivia, while the remaining four species occur only in Peru.

The primary factor leading to the listing of these species is habitat destruction and degradation. All six species have specific habitat requirements and are at risk throughout their entire range, primarily due to habitat destruction caused by ongoing human activities. These activities alter and destroy habitat, which has resulted in range reductions for these foreign bird species.

The ash-breasted tit-tyrant, Peruvian plantcutter, royal cinclodes and white-browed tit-spinetail are forest species, whose ranges have become highly-fragmented and disjunct as a result of habitat-altering activities such as clearing (for agriculture and grazing) and fuel wood extraction. The Junín grebe and Junín rail are water birds that are endemic to a single lake (Lake Junín) where water availability and quality have been compromised due to ongoing manipulations in water levels (for hydropower generation) and mining activity, as well as threats from disease caused by contamination of the lake water. The Junín rail is also subject to predation, especially when water levels are low. All of the species in this rule are further at risk due to their extremely small population sizes, which comprises their ability to adapt to ongoing human activities or unexpected natural events.

Addition of a foreign species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife places restrictions on the importation of either the animal or its parts. Listing can also generate conservation benefits, such as increasing awareness of the species, prompting research efforts to address their conservation needs, or funding conservation in range countries.

Currently, there are about 600 foreign species listed under the ESA, compared to about 1,390 species native to the United States. While the Service has no regulatory jurisdiction in these countries, the ESA requires the agency to protect species as endangered if they are in danger of extinction, and as threatened if they are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, regardless of which country the species lives in.

By listing foreign species under the ESA, it can generate conservation benefits such as increased awareness of listed species, research efforts to address conservation needs or funding for in-situ conservation of the species in its range countries. The ESA provides for limited financial assistance to develop and manage programs to conserve listed species in foreign countries, encourages conservation programs for such species, and allows for assistance for programs, such as personnel and training.

Grant opportunities exist for critically endangered species that face an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future. To find information on the Service’s Wildlife Without Borders-Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Fund, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/international/DIC/global/critically_endangered_animals_conservationfund.html .

The final rule published today, July 24, 2012, in the Federal Register, and will become effective on August 23, 2012. The document may be viewed online at http://www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by clicking on the 2012 Final Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and to date has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species program’s Branch of Foreign Species, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/international-activities.html.


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