[Federal Register: January 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 11)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 3145-3179]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 3145]]


Part III

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule To List Six 
Foreign Birds as Endangered; Final Rule

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Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R1-JA-2008-007; 96100-1671-000; 1018-AT62]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule To List 
Six Foreign Birds as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine 
endangered status for six avian species--black stilt (Himantopus 
novaezelandiae), caerulean paradise-flycatcher (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), 
giant ibis (Pseudibis gigantea), Gurney's pitta (Pitta gurneyi), long-
legged thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa), and Socorro mockingbird (Mimus 
graysoni)--under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
This rule implements the protection of the Act for these six species.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This final rule is effective February 15, 2008.

ADDRESSES: The supporting file for this rule is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, Monday 
through Friday, in Suite 110, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 
Virginia 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Patricia De Angelis, at the above 
address; by fax to 703-358-2276; by e-mail to 
ScientificAuthority@fws.gov; or by telephone, 703-358-1708.



    In this final rule, we determine endangered status for six foreign 
bird species under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.): Black stilt 
(Himantopus novaezelandiae), caerulean paradise-flycatcher 
(Eutrichomyias rowleyi), giant ibis (Pseudibis gigantea), Gurney's 
pitta (Pitta gurneyi), long-legged thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa), and 
Socorro mockingbird (Mimus graysoni).

Previous Federal Action

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires us to make a finding (known 
as a ``90-day finding'') on whether a petition to add, remove, or 
reclassify a species from the list of endangered or threatened species 
has presented substantial information indicating that the requested 
action may be warranted. To the maximum extent practicable, the finding 
shall be made within 90 days following receipt of the petition and 
published promptly in the Federal Register. If we find that the 
petition has presented substantial information indicating that the 
requested action may be warranted (a positive finding), section 
4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires us to commence a status review of the 
species if one has not already been initiated under our internal 
candidate assessment process. In addition, section 4(b)(3)(B) of the 
Act requires us to make a finding within 12 months following receipt of 
the petition on whether the requested action is warranted, not 
warranted, or warranted but precluded by higher-priority listing 
actions (this finding is referred to as the ``12-month finding''). 
Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that a finding of warranted but 
precluded for petitioned species should be treated as having been 
resubmitted on the date of the warranted but precluded finding, and is 
therefore subject to a new finding within 1 year and subsequently 
thereafter until we take action on a proposal to list or withdraw our 
original finding. The Service publishes an annual notice of resubmitted 
petition findings (annual notice) for all foreign species for which 
listings were previously found to be warranted but precluded.
    On November 24, 1980, we received a petition (1980 petition) from 
Dr. Warren B. King, Chairman, United States Section of the 
International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP), to add 79 bird 
species (19 native and 60 foreign) to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife (50 CFR 17.11(h)), including the black stilt and 
the long-legged thicket bird (or, long-legged warbler, which was the 
common name used in the petition). In response to the 1980 petition, we 
published a positive 90-day finding on May 12, 1981 (46 FR 26464), for 
77 of the species (19 domestic and 58 foreign), noting that 2 of the 
foreign species identified in the petition were already listed under 
the Act, and initiated a status review. On January 20, 1984, we 
published an annual review on pending petitions and description of 
progress on all petition findings addressed therein (49 FR 2485). In 
that notice, we found that listing all 58 foreign bird species from the 
1980 petition, including the black stilt and the long-legged 
thicketbird, was warranted but precluded by higher-priority listing 
actions. On May 10, 1985, we published the first annual notice (50 FR 
19761) in which we continued to find that listing all 58 foreign bird 
species from the 1980 petition was warranted but precluded. In our next 
annual notice, published on January 9, 1986 (51 FR 996), we found that 
listing 54 species from the 1980 petition, including the black stilt 
and the long-legged thicketbird, continued to be warranted but 
precluded, whereas new information caused us to find that listing four 
other species in the 1980 petition was no longer warranted. We 
published additional annual notices on the species included in the 1980 
petition on July 7, 1988 (53 FR 25511); December 29, 1988 (53 FR 
52746); April 25, 1990 (55 FR 17475); and November 21, 1991 (56 FR 
58664), in which we indicated that the black stilt and the long-legged 
thicketbird continued to be warranted but precluded.
    On May 6, 1991 (1991 petition), we received a petition from Alison 
Stattersfield, of ICBP, to list 53 additional foreign birds under the 
Act. The caerulean paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, and 
Socorro mockingbird were included in the 1991 petition. On December 16, 
1991, we published a positive 90-day finding and announced the 
initiation of a status review of the 53 foreign birds listed in the 
1991 petition (56 FR 65207). The 1991 petition included the giant ibis, 
Gurney's pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and caerulean paradise-flycatcher 
among the 53 foreign birds that the petitioner requested be listed 
under the Act. On March 28, 1994 (59 FR 14496), we published a proposed 
rule to list 30 African bird species from both the 1980 and 1991 
petitions. In the same Federal Register document, we included a notice 
of findings in which we announced our determination that listing the 38 
remaining species from the 1991 petition was warranted but precluded; 
this group included the giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, Socorro 
mockingbird, and caerulean paradise-flycatcher. On May 21, 2004 (69 FR 
29354), we published an annual notice of findings on resubmitted 
petitions for foreign species and annual description of progress on 
listing actions (2004 annual notice) within which we ranked species for 
listing by assigning them a Listing Priority Number per the Service's 
listing priority guidelines, published on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 
43098). Based on this ranking and priorities, we determined that 
listing five of the previously petitioned species--the black stilt, 
caerulean paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, and Socorro 
mockingbird--was warranted. In the same 2004 annual notice, we 
determined that the long-legged thicketbird and 16 other species no 
longer warranted listing on the basis that those species were likely 
extinct. In response to the 2004 annual notice, we

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received information indicating that the long-legged thicketbird had 
been rediscovered, in small numbers, in 2002. The magnitude of the 
threat to the species was perceived as high and the immediacy of threat 
imminent. Therefore, we assigned this species a listing priority 
ranking of 1, which ranking is reserved specifically for a monospecific 
genus, and determined that listing the species was warranted at that 
    On November 22, 2006 (71 FR 67530), we published a Federal Register 
notice to list black stilt, caerulean paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, 
Gurney's pitta, long-legged thicketbird, and Socorro mockingbird as 
endangered. We implemented the Service's peer review process and opened 
a 60-day comment period to solicit scientific and commercial 
information on the species from all interested parties following 
publication of the proposed rule.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the proposed rule of November 22, 2006 (71 FR 67530), we 
requested that all interested parties submit information that might 
contribute to development of a final rule. We received five comments: 
two from members of the public and one each from the governments of 
Cambodia, Fiji, and Mexico. In accordance with our policy, ``Notice of 
Interagency Cooperative Policy for Peer Review in Endangered Species 
Act Activities,'' published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we also 
sought the expert opinion of at least three appropriate independent 
specialists regarding the proposed rule.
    Comment 1: Four commenters supported the proposed listings, 
including the governments of Cambodia, Fiji, and Mexico. The government 
of Cambodia ``strongly endorsed[d] the proposal of giant ibis to be 
listed in [the] U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Fijian government 
noted that the benefits of listing the long-legged thicketbird under 
the Act are ``perhaps marginal'' but that a listing could help where 
species, such as the thicketbird, are not listed in the Appendices of 
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora (CITES) because trade in the wild bird is not a concern 
at this time. The potential funding and technical support (see 
Available Conservation Measures) for the development of management 
programs for the conservation of species in foreign countries could be 
beneficial to the thicketbird in Fiji. Similarly, the government of 
Mexico commented that listing the Socorro mockingbird under the Act 
would support its ongoing efforts and additional actions to be 
undertaken by the Mexican government, including scientific 
investigations, in order to protect the species.
    Our Response: While general support of a listing is not, in itself, 
a substantive comment that we take into consideration as part of our 
five-factor analysis, we appreciate the support of these range 
countries. Cooperation is important to the conservation of foreign 
    Comment 2: One researcher opposed the listing of the long-legged 
thicketbird on the basis that the species is not endangered, but merely 
elusive to the inexperienced or to those with an uneducated eye.
    Our Response: We have taken into account in our review of the long-
legged thicketbird the bird's elusive behavior. However, we believe 
that we have used the best available scientific information in our 
status review and have accurately determined the appropriate threat 
status for this species.
    Comment 3: One commenter recommended that the term kak[iuml] be 
used to refer to the black stilt throughout the rule, as it is the 
preferred name in New Zealand.
    Our Response: We have added this common name in the species 
description for the black stilt, but have chosen to use the common name 
``black stilt'' throughout the rule and in the list because the federal 
listing will be categorized under the species grouping ``stilt.''
    Several commenters provided additional information on the species. 
This information has been considered and incorporated into the 
rulemaking as appropriate (as indicated in the citations by ``in 

Species Information and Factors Affecting the Species

    Under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1)) and 
regulations promulgated to implement the listing provisions of the Act 
(50 CFR part 424.11), we may list a species as threatened and 
endangered on the basis of five threat factors: (A) Present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence. Listing may be warranted based on 
any of the above threat factors, either singly or in combination.
    Under the Act, we may determine a species to be endangered or 
threatened. An endangered species is defined as a species which is in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. A threatened species is defined as a species which is likely to 
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, we evaluated the 
best available scientific and commercial information on each species 
under the five listing factors to determine whether they met the 
definition of endangered or threatened.
    Following is a species-by-species analysis of these five factors. 
The species are considered in alphabetical order: Black stilt, 
caerulean paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, long-legged 
thicketbird, and Socorro mockingbird.

I. Black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae)

Species Description

    The black stilt is a wading bird in the family Recurvirostridae. It 
is native to New Zealand and is locally known there by its Maori name 
``kaki.'' Adults are characterized by long red legs, a slender bill and 
black plumage (BirdLife International (BLI) 2007a; New Zealand 
Conservation Management Group (NZ CMaG 2007). Adult males and females 
are generally regarded as having identical plumage (BLI 2007e); 
however, Elkington and Maloney (2000) determined that white flecking 
around their eyes and crown is generally indicative of older males. 
Juveniles have a white-plumed breast, neck, and head (BLI 2007e). Black 
and pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus) hybridize (see Taxonomy, below), 
and hybrids are more varied in color, with varying gradations of white 
and black plumage, and varying body characteristics, such as shorter 
legs and longer bills (BLI 2007e; Department of Conservation (DOC) 
2007a; Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed et al. 2007).
    The species can reach 16 inches (in) (40 centimeters (cm)) (BLI 
2007e) in height, with a wingspan of 23 in (58 cm). The average age of 
birds in the current population is 6 years (BLI 2007e; Maloney & Murray 
2002). The potential lifespan of the species is unknown, but the oldest 
recorded specimen, a banded female relocated in 1983, was estimated to 
be at least 12 years old (Pierce 1986b).


    The black stilt was first taxonomically described by Gould in 1841 
and placed in the family Recurvirostridae. It is one of two stilt 
species in New Zealand, the other being the pied stilt (Pierce 1984a;

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Reed et al. 1993a). Where their ranges overlap, the black stilt may 
interbreed with its close relative, the pied stilt (Reed et al. 1993a). 
It is generally accepted that hybridization between these two species 
has been occurring only in the last two centuries, as the pied stilt 
expanded its range from Australia to New Zealand in the early 19th 
century (Greene 1999; Pierce 1984a; Reed et al. 1993a). During the late 
19th century, the frequency of hybrid sightings increased (Pierce 
1984b) but observers of the time did not realize that the two species 
were hybridizing, and the taxonomy of Himantopus species of New Zealand 
was the subject of much debate (Buller 1874; Potts 1872; Travers 1871). 
In 1984, Pierce (1984b) concluded on the basis of morphological, 
ecological, and behavioral differences that the two species remained 
distinct. Genetic analysis in the 20th century confirmed that the two 
species were undergoing introgressive hybridization, wherein viable 
offspring produced from the successful mating of two distinct species 
were subsequently capable of mating with parental species (Greene 
1999). From these studies, despite the genetic similarity between the 
two species, Greene (1999) concluded that the species remain distinct.

Habitat and Life History

    Black stilt habitat includes riverbanks, lakeshores, swamps, and 
shallow ponds (Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1982; Potts 1872; Reed et 
al. 1993a). The species' habitat preferences shift slightly depending 
on the seasons, which are: Breeding (braided rivers, side streams, and 
swamps), post-breeding (riverbeds and shallow tarns), and wintering 
(inland waters or river deltas) (Maloney & Murray 2002). However, these 
habitats are often located within the same watershed, and the species 
is considered a primarily sedentary, nonmigrating species (Maloney & 
Murray 2002; Pierce 1986b). About 90 percent of the black stilt 
population overwinters in the Upper Waitaki Basin (UWB; in the central 
region of the South Island) by moving to inland areas to continue 
feeding on aquatic insects, including larvae of mayfly (Deleatidium 
sp.) and caddisfly (Olinga sp.), and, to a lesser extent, on mollusks 
and fish (DOC 2007a; Reed et al. 1993a). Researchers believe that the 
black stilt's long legs allow them to wade out into the deeper, 
unfrozen sections of rivers where they can continue foraging throughout 
the winter (DOC 2007a; Reed et al. 1993a).
    A small percentage (about 10 percent) of the population migrates to 
coastal Canterbury on South Island or Northern Island coastal areas in 
the winter, from February to June, before returning to the UWB to breed 
in July and August (BLI 2007e; Maloney & Murray 2002: NZ CMaG 2007; 
Pierce 1984a; Pierce 1996; Reed et al. 1993a). Reed et al. (1993a) 
believe that this migratory behavior has resulted from hybridization 
with the pied stilt (which migrates to coastal waters in the winter) 
(Dowding & Moore 2006). In the absence of a suitable mate of the same 
species, black stilts will mate and produce hybrid offspring with the 
pied stilt (BLI 2007e; DOC 2007a; Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed et al. 
1993a). Mixed pairs (a black stilt paired with a pied stilt) and their 
offspring are more likely to participate in migratory behavior (Dowding 
& Moore 2006; Reed et al. 1993a). Hybridization is discussed further 
under Factor E.
    Black stilts reach adulthood around 18 months of age, attaining 
sexual maturity between 2 and 3 years of age. They mate for life, nest 
in solitary pairs (often miles (kilometers) from another pair), and 
exhibit high nesting fidelity (returning to the same location to nest 
each year) (BLI 2007e; DOC 2007a; Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1984a; 
Reed et al. 1993a). The breeding season begins in July or August and 
egg-laying occurs from September to December (BLI 2007e; Maloney & 
Murray 2002; NZ CMaG 2007). Ground-nesting birds, black stilts prefer 
open nesting sites, such as dry, stable riverbanks (Maloney & Murray 
2002; Pierce 1982; Pierce 1986b; Reed et al. 1993a). They lay a typical 
clutch size of four eggs and have a lengthy fledging period of 40 to 55 
days (the amount of time it takes birds to hatch and leave the nest) 
(Maloney & Murray 2002). Both sexes share the nesting responsibility 
(Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1986b; Pierce 1996; Sanders & Maloney 
2002). Eggs are incubated by both sexes for 25 days, and pairs will 
often re-nest if the first clutch is lost early in the season (BLI 
2007e; Reed et al. 1993a; Maloney & Murray 2002; NZ CMaG 2007). Chicks 
are precocial (the young are relatively mature and mobile from the 
moment of hatching) and capable of feeding themselves within hours of 
hatching (DOC 2007a; Reed et al. 1993a). After fledging, chicks stay 
with parents until the beginning of the following breeding season 
(Maloney & Murray 2002).
    The black stilt's breeding success in the wild is very low. For 
example, according to Maloney and Murray (2002), from 1977 to 1979, of 
33 chicks that hatched in unmanaged nests, only 2 individuals (or 6.1 
percent) survived to fledge (i.e., lived long enough to leave the 
nest). Overall breeding success (nesting success plus fledging success) 
for the same period was 0.9 percent. Recruitment, defined by Maloney 
and Murray (2002) as the number of chicks attaining 2 years of age, is 
only about 4 percent.
    Reproductive potential does not appear to be the primary limiting 
factor to the black stilt's breeding success and recruitment rates. The 
black stilt has high reproductive capability, first reproducing at age 
2 and continuing to produce multiple clutches in captivity to at least 
age 13 plus (Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed 1998). The species has high 
fecundity, producing clutches of one to four eggs every breeding 
season, and will re-nest if clutches are lost early in the season (BLI 
2007e; Reed et al. 1993a; Maloney & Murray 2002). Moreover, a review of 
captive breeding records from two breeding seasons (1981 to 1982 and 
2001 to 2002) found that the survival rate of captive-bred stilts 
reintroduced to the wild at 2 months and 10 months increased to 88 
percent and 82 percent, respectively (Van Heezik et al. 2005).

Historical Range and Distribution

    When it was described in 1841, the species' range included both the 
North and South Islands of New Zealand (Pierce 1984a). Its range has 
contracted twice in the 20th century: Once in the 1940s, when the 
breeding range became restricted to the South Island, and again in the 
1960s, when the UWB became their only breeding area (Maloney & Murray 
2002; Pierce 1984a; Reed et al. 1993a).
    As the black stilt's range contracted, researchers noticed that the 
pied stilt's range had increased (Pierce 1984a). In the last quarter of 
the 19th century, both black and pied stilts were considered common 
across South Island (Buller 1874, 1878; Travers 1871). By the 1980-1981 
breeding season, the estimated number of pied stilts in the UWB was 
between 1,500 and 2,000 (Pierce 1984a). At the same time, only 23 black 
stilt adults were known in the wild (Maloney & Murray 2002; Van Heezik 
et al. 2005). Experts considered whether the black stilts were being 
competitively excluded by the pied stilt and found that this was not 
the case. Black stilts and pied stilts prefer slightly different 
feeding areas (black stilts forage in riffles and pied stilts at pools) 
(Pierce 1986a); black stilts are better foragers than pied stilts 
(employing a greater variety of foraging techniques that allow them to 
obtain more food) (DOC 2007a; Pierce 1986a; Reed et al. 1993a); also, 
black stilts are territorially dominant over pied stilts when breeding 
areas overlap (Maloney & Murray 2002). From

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this work, researchers concluded that the decreasing range and numbers 
of black stilts in the face of the increasing pied stilt population 
reflected the black stilt's inability to adapt as readily to man-
induced changes, namely, the introduction of predators and habitat 
modification (Pierce 1986a, 1986b; Maloney & Murray 2002: Reed et al. 
1993a). Historical declines were attributed primarily to predation by 
mammals introduced in the 19th century and secondarily to habitat loss 
and hybridization with the pied stilt (Pierce 1984b; Reed et al. 1993a, 
    For a primarily sedentary species, the black stilt requires a 
fairly large area for feeding and nesting. In counts conducted between 
1991 and 1994, Maloney (1999) found less than one black stilt for every 
3 mi (5 km) of river surveyed. The species' tendency to overwinter 
inland requires sufficiently large areas of river habitat to allow for 
continuous year-round feeding (DOC 2007a; Reed et al. 1993a). Life 
history traits, such as lifelong pair-bonding combined with high 
nesting fidelity (returning to the same location to nest each year) and 
solitary nesting combined with their preference for open nesting sites 
(often miles from another pair), contribute to the highly dispersed 
nature of the population and their resultant large habitat requirement 
(Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1982, 1986b; Reed et al. 1993a).

Current Range and Distribution

    The current range of the black stilt is estimated to be an 821 
square mile (mi\2\) (2,830 square kilometer (km\2\)) area in the 
``braided-river'' habitat of the UWB (BLI 2007e). Located on the 
eastern side of the Southern Alps, in central South Island, New 
Zealand, the following rivers and lakes comprise the braided river 
habitat: Tasman, Godley, Hopkins, Ahuriri, Tekapo, Cass, Dobson, 
Macaulay, Lower Ohau, Pukaki and Upper Ohau, as well as Lakes Ohau and 
Pukaki (Maloney et al. 1997). The UWB population is sometimes referred 
to in the literature as the Mackenzie Basin population (for example, in 
Reed et al. 1993a). According to Dr. Richard Maloney of the Department 
of Conservation, Twizel, New Zealand (in litt. November 2007), although 
the two areas represent slightly different geographical boundaries, the 
black stilt population being referred to is the same in either 
instance. Because habitat quality in the species' present range is 
considered to be higher than in other former localities, the species is 
managed in situ (Maloney & Murray 2002).
    The black stilt is considered locally extinct in 9 of the 13 
Department of Conservation Conservancy Districts, occurring only in 2 
districts (Canterbury and Otaga) on the South Island and 2 (Waikata and 
Bay of Plenty) on the North Island (Hitchmough 2002). The majority of 
the population remains in the UWB, on the South Island, year round (BLI 
2007e; Maloney & Murray 2002: Pierce 1984a; Reed et al. 1993a; NZ CMaG 
2007), and their breeding range is now entirely confined to the 
wetlands and rivers of the UWB (Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1984a).

Population Estimates

    The wild black stilt population has undergone severe reductions in 
numbers concomitant with the reduction in range area. In the 1950s, the 
total population was estimated at 500 to 1,000 birds; however, within 
one decade the population decreased to between 50 to 100 birds (Pierce 
    Since 1981, the New Zealand Department of Conservation has 
intensively managed the wild black stilt population, including the 
establishment of a captive population (Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed 
1998; Reed et al. 1993a, 1993b). The captive breeding program entails 
the transfer of ``eggs, chicks, juveniles and sub-adults from one part 
of the range to any other part of the range'' (R. Maloney in litt. 
October 2007). For further discussion on the captive breeding program, 
see ``Management Plans,'' under Factor D.
    Since the establishment of the captive breeding program, the 
Department of Conservation has managed the global population of black 
stilts, including captive-held and wild birds, as a single breeding 
population (R. Maloney in litt. November 2007). Wild and reintroduced 
birds are free to move across the full geographical range of the 
species. Thus, the number of adults in the wild should be considered in 
conjunction with the number of breeding pairs held in captivity. 
According to Dr. Maloney (in litt. October 2007), a total wild 
population number, including immature individuals, ``is not 
informative'' because the total wild population is dependent on how 
many young the breeding program produces and releases each year. The 
number of breeding pairs is more informative as an indicator of the 
status of the population (R. Maloney in litt. November 2007). The 
number of available females is particularly important because of the 
species' tendency to hybridize with pied stilt when male black stilts 
are unable to find suitable mates (see Factor E) (Maloney & Murray 
    Wild population estimates: From 1975 to 1979, there were an 
estimated 50 to 60 adults in the wild (Pierce 1984a); by 1981, only 23 
adults remained in the wild (Maloney & Murray 2002; Van Heezik et al. 
2005). In August 2000, there were 48 adults in the wild, of which 15 to 
18 were females. As of February 2007, the wild adult population 
consisted of 87 adults, including 17 productive pairs and a total of 41 
females (DOC 2007b).
    Captive-held population numbers: Throughout the 1980s, an average 
of 15 birds was managed in captivity (Reed et al. 1993a). In 1998, the 
number of managed birds reached 48 individuals. At that time, it was 
decided that the captive-held population should be maintained at 
approximately 6 breeding pairs. It was further determined that, in 
order to maintain a genetic diversity among the breeding stock, a base 
population of at least 18 breeding adults and juveniles would be 
maintained as replacement stock and, barring a catastrophic loss of the 
wild population, only first-generation captive stock would be used for 
breeding (Reed 1998). As of 2007, the captive breeding program 
consisted of 15 adults, including 6 productive pairs (DOC 2007b).
    The black stilt is considered to be one of the rarest wading birds 
in the world (BLI 2007e; Caruso 2006; Reed et al. 1993a). Since 1994, 
the species has been categorized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) 
as ``Critically Endangered'' (BLI 2007a). The species' continued 
existence in the wild today is considered a direct result of the 
captive breeding program (Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed et al. 1993a; Van 
Heezik et al. 2005). According to the priority management ranking 
system devised by Molloy and Davis (1992) for the New Zealand 
Department of Conservation, the species was ranked as a Category ``A'' 
species, which includes the ``highest priority threatened species'' 
(Hitchmough et al. 2005; Reed et al. 1993a). Under New Zealand 
Department of Conservation's management system devised in 2002, the 
black stilt is classified as ``Nationally Critical'' (Hitchmough et al. 
2005). In the 2004 to 2005 breeding season, 7 pairs of captive-held 
black stilt and 12 pairs in the wild produced ``up to 100 birds per 
year for release into the wild'' (NZ CMaG 2007).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Black Stilt

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of the Black Stilt's Habitat or Range

    Today, it is estimated that only 10 percent of New Zealand's 
wetlands remain intact (Caruso 2006). The

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braided river habitat of UWB is a globally rare ecosystem. With an 
estimated area of 3,664 mi\2\ (9,490 km\2\), the UWB may account for 50 
to 60 percent of the remaining suitable braided river habitat in New 
Zealand (Caruso 2006; Maloney et al. 1997). The UWB is the only 
breeding ground for the black stilt and most of the population remains 
in the UWB year-round (Maloney & Murray 2002; Pierce 1984a; Reed et al. 
    Several factors affect the quality of black stilt breeding and 
nesting grounds. Among the most significant impacts to the UWB has been 
the diversion of rivers for hydroelectric power (HEP) development 
(Caruso 2006; Collar et al. 1994a; Maloney 1999). Since 1935, eight HEP 
plants have been built on rivers, floodplains, and wetlands associated 
with the UWB (Caruso 2006). The damming of rivers for HEP and flood 
control projects has reduced river flows and interrupted the natural 
flooding cycles vital to the creation and maintenance of the open 
gravel braided river system of the UWB. It is estimated that 
floodplains have been reduced by 17 percent in the 11 major rivers of 
the UWB (Caruso 2006; Maloney & Murray 2002).
    Disturbance by recreational users of riverbeds and riversides also 
affects black stilt habitat within the UWB (Maloney & Murray 2002). The 
riverine habitat where black stilts live and nest is a prime outdoor 
recreation area. According to the New Zealand Ministry for the 
environment (NZ MFE 2007), recreational activities include water sport 
fishing, mountain biking, four-wheel driving, and jet skiing. Central 
South Island Fish and Game New Zealand manages the Waitaki Catchment 
(which includes rivers of the UWB and associated wetlands) and 
considers the Catchment to be ``outstanding publicly accessible game 
bird hunting and waterfowl habitat'' (NZ MFE 2007). According to the 
New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (NZ MFE 2007), recreational 
use and impacts on the areas of the Waitaki Catchment are predicted to 
increase. The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (2007) does not 
address the effect that increased recreational activities will have on 
the black stilt or other native species (See also Factor D). Maloney 
and Murray (2002) indicate that the species does not tolerate human 
disturbance. Recreational activities that are disruptive to the black 
stilt's life cycle are considered to be a potentially serious threat to 
the species (R. Maloney in litt. February 2007). Indiscriminate use of 
off-road vehicles and jet-boats, disturbance by hikers and dogs, and 
fishing and camping activities are disruptive to black stilts (Maloney 
& Murray 2002). Recreational use of riverbed sites disturbs nesting 
birds and prevents successful rearing of offspring (BLI 2007e).
    Additional impacts on black stilt habitat include drainage for 
fields or irrigation, overgrazing of wetlands, and water extraction for 
agricultural irrigation (Caruso 2006; Collar et al. 1994a; Maloney & 
Murray 2002). Since 1850, 40 percent of UWB wetlands have been drained 
for farming (Caruso 2006). Proliferation of introduced weeds is a 
problem (Maloney & Murray 2002). Invasive plants, especially the crack 
willow (Salix fragilis), introduced by settlers as windbreaks, degrade 
black stilt habitat by contributing to an overgrowth in formerly open 
areas (Caruso 2006; Collar et al. 1994a; Maloney & Murray 2002: Pierce 
1996; Reed et al. 1993).

Summary of Factor A

    The black stilt's primary habitat and only known nesting ground 
within the UWB is a globally rare ecosystem that is being altered by 
water diversion, wetland conversion, invasive species, and recreation. 
Lack of suitable habitat for feeding and nesting increases the species' 
risk of extinction. The species does not tolerate human disturbance, 
and recreational activities within the species' riverside nesting 
grounds has the potential to disrupt the species' breeding success. 
Reduction in habitat quality is likely to increase the vulnerability of 
black stilt to predation (see Factor C). We find that the black stilt 
population is at significant risk throughout all of its range by the 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its 

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes et al.here is no known threat to the species from 
use for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes. 
The species has not been formally considered for listing in the 
Appendices of CITES (http://www.cites.org).

C. Disease or Predation

    There are currently no known diseases affecting the black stilt in 
the wild. Jakob-Hoff (2001) of the Auckland Zoo Wildlife Health and 
Research Centre, New Zealand, conducted a risk assessment for disease 
transmission caused by the translocation of captive black stilt to the 
wild population. The assessment considered a number of ``diseases of 
concern'' that may potentially threaten the wild population, including 
salmonellosis, yersiniosis, campylobacteriosis, pasteurellosis (fowl 
cholera), capillariasis, cestodiasis, trematodiasis, avian malaria, and 
coccidiosis. The assessment found no reported major die-offs of wild 
black stilts resulting from infectious diseases carried by birds 
translocated from captivity to the wild. Most of the illnesses and 
deaths that occurred among captive-reared birds were related to 
husbandry and could be controlled with improved husbandry methods, such 
as improved diet and parasite screening. Finally, the assessment 
suggested the establishment of a surveillance program to determine the 
prevalence of significant disease outbreaks in wild black stilts and 
facilitate development of pre-release quarantine and health-screening 
protocols regarding captive-reared birds (Jakob-Hoff 2001). A screening 
program for potential pathogens and improved husbandry methods specific 
to the black stilt captive population were outlined in the 1998 
management plan for captive black stilts (Reed 1998). In 2005, a review 
of the records since 1995 for captive-held birds showed that infection, 
along with trauma, was a major cause of death among all age classes in 
captivity, especially chicks within the first two weeks after hatching 
(Van Heezik et al. 2005). Van Heezik et al. (2005) reported that 
protocols that monitor birds, intervene at the first signs of illness, 
and minimize the introduction of pathogens into the breeding unit were 
strictly adhered to. This has prevented the spread of these infectious 
diseases among captive-held birds or transmission into the wild 
populations (Van Heezik et al. 2005).
    Predation by introduced mammalian predators and by unnaturally high 
numbers of avian predators is a primary threat to the black stilt (R. 
Maloney in litt. February 2007). Non-native predators introduced since 
the late 19th century include feral cats (Felis catus), ferrets 
(Mustela furo), stoats (M. erminea), hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), 
and brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) (Maloney & Murray 2002; R. Maloney 
in litt. February 2007; Pierce 1996; Sanders & Maloney 2002). In 
addition, population numbers of avian predators, such as the non-native 
Australian harrier (Circus approximans) and the native kelp gull (Larus 
dominicanus), are unnaturally high because of human-induced changes, 
such as the introduction of rabbits, agricultural development, and the 
presence of rubbish dumps (Dowding & Murphy 2001; Maloney & Murray 
2002). New Zealand is home to only one native

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mammal, a species of bat, and introduced mammalian predators pose a 
great risk to native bird species of New Zealand, including the black 
stilt, because these species evolved in the absence of these predators 
(Caruso 2006).
    Several aspects of the black stilt's life history and nesting 
behavior contribute to heavy predation losses (Dowding & Murphy 2001). 
Solitary ground-nesting birds, the black stilt's preference for open 
nesting sites and feeding areas, such as dry, stable riverbanks, may 
increase their susceptibility to predation by mammalian predators, such 
as feral cats and ferrets, which use the banks as pathways (Maloney & 
Murray 2002; Pierce 1982; Pierce 1986b; Reed et al. 1993a). Nesting as 
early as August, when other prey sources are less available, adds to 
the black stilts' vulnerability (Reed et al. 1993a). Both sexes share 
nesting responsibility during the lengthy fledging period and are 
equally vulnerable to predation during the breeding season (Maloney & 
Murray 2002; Pierce 1986b; Pierce 1996; Sanders & Maloney 2002). Black 
stilts exhibit ineffective anti-predator behavior, contributing to 
significant mortality of nestlings and fledglings (Maloney & Murray 
2002). For instance, black stilts do not perform distraction displays 
until late in incubation (Reed et al. 1993a). They will also re-nest in 
the same site if a clutch is lost to predation (Pierce 1986b; Sanders & 
Maloney 2002).
    To test the effects of predation on the black stilt, Pierce (1986a) 
undertook a predator control study in a portion of the species' range 
during three breeding seasons, from 1977 to 1979, monitoring a total of 
50 nests. Traps were placed around 23 randomly selected nests; these 
nests were ``protected.'' These and the remaining 27 nests, designated 
as ``unprotected,'' were monitored. Pierce (1986a) determined that 64 
percent of black stilt breeding failures were attributed to predation 
and found that success in fledging and breeding increased at protected 
nests to 32.5 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively (R. Maloney in 
litt. February 2007). Most predation was caused by brown rats (14 
nests), ferrets (13 nests), and cats (11 nests).
    In a review of 499 eggs placed in the wild from 1979 to 1999, 
mortality was attributed to predation (45 percent); unknown causes (43 
percent); flooding (10 percent); and human disturbance, disease, cold 
weather, poor parenting, and starvation (2 percent) (Maloney and Murray 
2002). However, direct observation of predation events is difficult (R. 
Maloney in litt. February 2007), and, of all these deaths, only 11 were 
known conclusively (5 of which were directly observed predation 
    In an unpublished report by Saunders et al. (1996, as cited in 
Dowding & Murphy 2001), predation may have accounted for nearly 77 
percent of black stilt chick losses between 1982 and 1995. Using video 
cameras, Sanders and Maloney (2002) studied the causes of mortality on 
ground-nesting birds in the UWB. The study monitored 23 black stilt 
nests and recorded 5 lethal events attributed primarily to cats and 
harriers. Cats were observed eating eggs, killing an adult nesting 
bird, and stalking nests. One black stilt nest containing ceramic eggs 
was visited by cats nine times over a 32-day period. A harrier ate a 
chick and a hatching egg in another nest. Unlike other bird species 
being observed in the same study, black stilts continued to nest upon 
dummy eggs even after being visited by cats, revealing that the use of 
dummy eggs increased their risk of mortality and further confirming 
that the species is ill-adapted to this predation pressure (Sanders & 
Maloney 2002).
    Despite 20 years of predator trapping undertaken by the New Zealand 
Department of Conservation to protect black stilt nesting and fledging 
attempts, predator control efforts have met with mixed success. 
Fledging success (the number of chicks fledged versus the number of 
chicks hatched) was increased in some but not all years (Keedwell et 
al. 2002). In a review of predator trapping activities conducted 
between 1981 and 2000, Keedwell et al. (2002) found that efforts were 
inconsistent, resulting in highly variable results each season. For 
instance, predator control was sometimes undertaken for the entire 
breeding season but other times began well after the start of the 
breeding season. Keedwell et al. (2002) calculated that over the 20-
year management period, the effort expended in predator control was 
equivalent to roughly 9.8 ``person years.'' According to Dr. Maloney 
(in litt. March 2007), the intensity and scale of control need to be 
significantly expanded to be effective in increasing fledgling survival 
and recruitment.

Summary of Factor C

    For the reasons outlined above, we believe that disease is not 
currently a contributory threat factor for the black stilt. Predation 
by introduced mammalian and avian predators causes black stilt 
mortality at all life stages. Despite evidence that predator control 
significantly increased the species' breeding success, predator control 
efforts have been limited and inconsistent. We consider predation to be 
a significant contributory factor currently threatening this species 
and one that is projected to continue in the future.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Four aspects are considered under this factor: National protection, 
habitat protection, the black stilt's status as a culturally 
significant species, and the species' management plans.
    National protection: The black stilt is an ``absolutely protected'' 
species under the New Zealand's Wildlife Act of 1953 (1953 Act No. 31 
1953). Under this Act, it is illegal to (a) hunt or kill; (b) buy, 
sell, or otherwise dispose of, or have possession of any absolutely 
protected wildlife or any skin, feathers, or other portion, or any egg 
of any absolutely protected wildlife; or (c) rob, disturb, or destroy, 
or have possession of the nest of any absolutely protected species 
(Part 5, 63(1)). Violations of this law by individuals can result in 
imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months; or a fine not exceeding 
$100,000 plus a further fine not exceeding $5,000 for each head of 
wildlife and egg of wildlife in respect of which the offence is 
committed (Part 5, 67(A)(1)(a)). Violations by corporations can result 
in a fine not exceeding $200,000 plus a further fine not exceeding 
$10,000 for each head of wildlife and egg of wildlife in respect of 
which the offence is committed (Part 5, 67(A)(1)(a)). Given that take 
by humans is not a threat to the black stilt, this law does not reduce 
any threats to the species.
    Habitat protection: New Zealand protects more than 30 percent of 
its total land area as reserve land (Craig et al. 2000; Green & 
Clarkson 2006). However, except for a few small and scattered wetland 
reserves, most black stilt habitat is unprotected by the government 
(Maloney & Murray 2002). Habitat modification, including diversion or 
use of water for electrical generation, agriculture, and recreational 
activities (as discussed under Factor A), is a primary threat to this 
    The Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Plan addresses water 
allocation for activities that involve the take, use, damming, and 
diversion of water in relation to the Waitaki Catchment. The most 
recent plan was approved in 2004 by the New Zealand Ministry for the 
Environment, in accordance with the Resource Management Act of 1991 and 
the Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Act of 2004 (NZ 
MFE 2005). The objectives of the

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Waitaki Catchment Regional Plan were to balance electrical generation 
with conservation and other human uses of the Catchment, including an 
evaluation of minimum lake levels required to achieve these objectives. 
The evaluation gave specific consideration to the effect of water flow 
changes on the feeding, roosting, and breeding habitat of the black 
stilt (and other wetland birds), and it was determined that the 
established water levels were suitable for these wetland species (NZ 
MFE 2005). However, the Waitaki Catchment Regional Plan provided 
exemptions for other activities that also adversely affect black stilt 
and its habitat, including certain agricultural uses and recreational 
activities (See Factor A). Policy 35 of the Waitaki Catchment Water 
Allocation Plan exempts certain activities from allocation limits, 
including ``tourism and recreational facilities from the lakes [Tekapo, 
Pukaki and Ohau] and from the canals leading from them'' (NZ MFE 2004). 
Rule 2(2) of the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Plan exempts 
``stock drinking-water * * * and processing and storage of perishable 
produce'' from consideration under the allocation limits (NZ MFE 2005). 
Thus, while the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Plan addresses 
regulation on water levels associated with hydroelectric power 
generation, it did not address or reduce threats to black stilt habitat 
from water diversion for certain agricultural and recreational 
activities, which is adversely affecting the black stilt (Factor A).
    Status as a culturally significant species: The UWB is considered a 
``taonga,'' and the black stilt a ``taonga'' species for the Ngai tahu, 
the native tribal population inhabiting most of the South Island, New 
Zealand (Schedule 97 1998; NZ MFE 2005). ``Taonga'' is a Maori word for 
any item, object or thing that has special significance to the culture, 
including birds and plants (Auckland Museum 1997). Under the Ngai 
tah[umacr] Claims Settlement Act of 1998, the New Zealand Department of 
Conservation must consult with, and have particular regard to, the 
views of the Ngai tah[umacr] when making management decisions 
concerning ``taonga'' species (1998 Act No. 97. 1998; Maloney & Murray 
2002). An Ngai tah[umacr] representative is a member of the Kak[iuml] 
Recovery Group (Maloney in litt. February 2007), which implements the 
management plan for the black stilt (Maloney & Murray 2002). Including 
the tribes in resource decision-making is an important conservation 
strategy undertaken by the New Zealand government (NZ MFE 2001). New 
Zealand's Resource Management Act of 1991 is based on sustainably 
managing resources, while encouraging community and individual 
involvement in the planning for conservation (NZ MFE 1991). We believe 
that local involvement is important for resource conservation and may 
help to reduce threats to the species by increasing awareness of the 
conservation risks.
    Management plans: According to the New Zealand Ministry of 
Environment, high priority is afforded to the black stilt recovery plan 
(NZ MFE 1997). Beginning in 1981, the New Zealand Department of 
Conservation undertook management of the wild black stilt population to 
increase fledging success and recruitment of juveniles in the declining 
populations in Mackenzie basin (R. Maloney in litt. March 2007; Reed et 
al. 1993b). Since 1993, black stilt management has been guided by two 
consecutive recovery plans, the first published in 1993 (Reed et al. 
1993a) and a second, updated plan approved in 2002 (Maloney & Murray 
2002), that covers the period 2001-2011.
    The goals of the current recovery plan (effective from 2001 to 
2011) are to increase the black stilt population within the next 10 
years to more than 250 breeding individuals, with a mean annual 
recruitment rate that exceeds the mean annual adult mortality rate 
(Maloney & Murray 2002). There are two overlapping phases. Phase 1 of 
the program involves a series of objectives aimed at increasing the 
number of black stilts in the wild by maximizing recruitment rate both 
in the wild (for instance, by ensuring that all female black stilts are 
mated with a male each season) and by captive-rearing black stilts and 
releasing large numbers of captive-born young to the wild. A review of 
captive breeding records from two breeding seasons (1981 to 1982 and 
2001 to 2002) found that the survival rate of captive-bred stilts that 
were reintroduced to the wild was 88 percent at 2 months and 82 percent 
at 10 months (Van Heezik et al. 2005). Between 1992 and 1999, 
researchers determined that the recruitment rate of chicks that had 
been artificially incubated in captivity and then hatched and raised in 
the wild was only 4 percent, with only 8 of the 189 chicks surviving to 
2 years of age. However, birds that were hatched and raised in 
captivity and then released into the wild achieved a minimum 
recruitment rate of 22 percent (Maloney & Murray 2002). Thus, wild 
losses of eggs, chicks, and fledglings are largely avoided by 
artificially incubating and captive-rearing young to 3 or 9 months of 
age before releasing them back to the wild. This technique has been 
used for most eggs since 1998, and has resulted in approximately 30 
percent recruitment rate (Van Heezik et al. 2005).
    A second concurrent phase seeks to increase black stilt breeding 
success and adult survival in the wild by continuing research on the 
primary causes of mortality and developing mitigation measures to 
prevent excess mortality. Attempts to monitor all forms of mortality 
via direct observation began in 1998 and are ongoing. Goals under this 
phase include obtaining a better understanding of the causes of chick 
and adult mortality, developing multi-species predator control methods, 
and understanding mate choice decisions at different population 
densities. As an example, because monitoring birds between post-flight 
to adulthood is difficult, researchers are monitoring adults using 
transmitters (Maloney & Murray 2002). In September 2007, researchers 
released 38 adult black stilts fitted with transmitters (Timaru Herald 
2007). These transmitters help researchers locate wild birds that have 
died (Maloney & Murray 2002).
    The management of the captive black stilt population is addressed 
in both recovery plans (Reed et al. 1993; Maloney & Murray 2002), and 
also in a separate Department of Conservation management plan published 
in 1998 (Reed 1998). According to Reed (1998), the goals of the captive 
management plan are to provide young birds for release into the wild 
and develop a self-sustaining captive population. Five objectives were 
established to achieve these goals: (1) Establish a captive population 
capable of being self-sustaining, (2) provide juveniles for release and 
eggs for fostering to the wild, (3) undertake research to increase 
productivity and survival, (4) establish health monitoring of the 
captive population, and (5) advocate conservation of black stilts to 
the general public. This management plan outlines the expansion of the 
captive breeding program and formalizes the protocols for captive 
release, health screening, and monitoring.
    Experts consider that, despite only incremental success in 
increasing wild population numbers, the captive-breeding program, along 
with predator control, have prevented the species from going extinct in 
the wild (BLI 2007e; Maloney & Murray 2002: Reed et al. 1993; Van 
Heezik et al. 2005). The management plans are addressing several 
aspects to facilitate the species' recovery, including research into 
survival, production of offspring for release into the wild, and 

[[Page 3153]]

research into the causes of mortality in the wild, including predation. 
However, the relative success of the captive breeding program is 
hindered by the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, combined with 
limited or inconsistent efforts to control predators (Factor C) and 
conserve and provide suitable habitat for the species (Factor A).

Summary of Factor D

    Regulatory mechanisms exist to protect the black stilt from take. 
However, take is not a primary threat to the species. Government-
sponsored measures are in place to facilitate the species' recovery (as 
discussed under this factor), including mitigating threats from 
predation (as discussed under Factor C). However, the inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms to protect or curb habitat destruction in the 
species' only known breeding ground (Factor A), combined with 
inconsistent predator control (Factor C), results in failure to reduce 
or remove threats from the species' habitat. As such, we believe that 
the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms is a contributory risk factor 
currently and in the future for this species.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    Three additional factors are considered herein: Genetic risks 
associated with small population sizes, hybridization, and threats from 
stochastic events (random natural occurrences).
    Genetic risks associated with small population sizes: The small 
size of the black stilt population, estimated in 2007 as 87 adults 
consisting of 17 breeding pairs (DOC 2007b), makes this species 
vulnerable to any of several risks, including inbreeding depression, 
loss of genetic variation, and accumulation of new mutations. 
Inbreeding can have individual or population-level consequences either 
by increasing the phenotypic expression (the outward appearance or 
observable structure, function or behavior of a living organism) of 
recessive, deleterious alleles or by reducing the overall fitness of 
individuals in the population (Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987; 
Shaffer 1981). Small, isolated populations of wildlife species are also 
susceptible to demographic problems (Shaffer 1981), which may include 
reduced reproductive success of individuals and chance disequilibrium 
of sex ratios. Research has shown that the long-term survival of the 
black stilt as a species requires gene flow to be at least 5 percent, 
and that the present gene flow is approximately 15 percent (Maloney & 
Murray 2002). However, the relatedness of the entire black stilt 
population has not been determined, and inbreeding depression is a 
possible threat (Maloney & Murray 2002).
    A general approximation of minimum viable population size is the 50 
/ 500 rule (Soul[eacute] 1980; Hunter 1996). This rule states that an 
effective population (Ne) of 50 individuals is the minimum 
size required to avoid imminent risks from inbreeding. Ne 
represents the number of animals in a population that actually 
contribute to reproduction, and is often much smaller than the census, 
or total number of individuals in the population (N). Furthermore, the 
rule states that the long-term fitness of a population requires an 
Ne of at least 500 individuals, so that it will not lose its 
genetic diversity over time and will maintain an enhanced capacity to 
adapt to changing conditions.
    The available information for 2007 indicates that the breeding 
population of the black stilt (based on the number of wild and captive-
held breeding pairs) is 46 individuals (DOC 2007b); 46 is just below 
the minimum effective population size required to avoid risks from 
inbreeding (Ne = 50 individuals). Moreover, the upper limit 
of the population is 102 adults (DOC 2007b). This represents the 
maximum potential number of reproducing members in the wild black stilt 
population and is less than one-fifth of the upper threshold 
(Ne = 500 individuals) required for long-term fitness of a 
population that will not lose its genetic diversity over time and will 
maintain an enhanced capacity to adapt to changing conditions. As such, 
we currently consider the species to be at risk due to lack of near- 
and long-term viability.
    Hybridization: Black stilt males and pied stilt females can produce 
fertile offspring (BLI 2007e; DOC 2007a; Maloney & Murray 2002; Reed et 
al. 1993a). However, hybrid offspring exhibit distinct differences in 
survival rate and behavior that may be deleterious to the species' 
long-term survival (Reed et al. 1993a). Hybrid survival to adulthood is 
about 50 percent that of the offspring of pure black stilt pairs. In 
addition, researchers noted changes in behavioral patterns in chicks 
fostered to pied stilt parents between 1981 and 1987. Due to the 
limited number of wild black stilt breeding pairs, part of the species' 
management plan at that time was to cross-foster black stilt eggs to 
pied stilt parents. Cross-fostered black stilts were half as likely to 
be re-sighted in the UWB and mixed pairs were more likely to 
participate in migratory behavior with the pied stilt population rather 
than remain in their natal range, as pure black stilts would. As a 
result, cross-fostering of black stilt eggs with pied stilt parents was 
discontinued. More importantly, this research revealed that 
hybridization was detrimental to the long-term survival of the black 
stilt, as mixed pairs were effectively ``lost'' from the population 
(Reed et al. 1993b).
    Hybrid management (such as breaking up mixed-pair bonds prior to 
mating) is part of the conservation strategy identified in the black 
stilt recovery plan, and researchers believe black stilts possess 
several inherent qualities that reduce gene flow, such as the black 
stilt's strong positive assortative mating (selecting black stilt over 
pied stilt when given the choice) and the low fitness of hybrid 
offspring (Maloney & Murray 2002). However, black stilts live in 
relative isolation from each other, and nesting pairs are often located 
miles (kilometers) apart (BLI 2007e; DOC 2007a; Pierce 1984a; Reed et 
al. 1993a). Sex ratios are an important indicator of the species' 
tendency to pair with pied stilts (Maloney & Murray 2002), and experts 
note that black stilts pair with the pied stilt when ``suitable'' mates 
within the species are not available (DOC 2007a; Greene 1999; NZ CMaG 
2007; Reed et al. 1993a). Given the species' dispersed nature, the 
likelihood for hybridization with the growing population of pied stilts 
increases as black stilt population numbers decrease and black stilt 
males are less able to find females (Greene 1999; Pierce 1996).
    Threats from stochastic events: With a wild adult population of 87 
adults (DOC 2007b), experts consider the risk of a single catastrophic 
event to be a serious threat that could destroy most of the population 
(Maloney & Murray 2002). New Zealand's South Island is subject to 
tsunamis and earthquakes. According to the New Zealand Institute of 
Geological and Nuclear Sciences (NZ GNS) (2007), since 1840, when 
tsunami recordkeeping began, 10 tsunamis measuring 16.4 ft (5 m) or 
higher have hit New Zealand. New Zealand is vulnerable to tsunamis 
because of the high amount of seismic activity in the region. 
Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 earthquakes occur in New Zealand 
annually, most of low magnitude (Quake Trackers 2007). New Zealand is 
expected to experience earthquakes of magnitude of 7 on the Richter 
scale only about once a decade (Walsh 2003). However, since 2003, the 
southern region of the South Island has been rocked by at least three 
earthquakes near or above that magnitude. Centered in or near 
Fiordland, 266 mi (429 km) south of the heart of black stilt territory 

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New Zealand (NZ) Herald 2004, 2007; Walsh 2003), the years and 
magnitudes of each of these high-magnitude earthquakes were: 2003, 7.2 
magnitude; 2004: 7.2 magnitude; 2007: 6.7 magnitude (NZ Herald 2004, 
2007; Walsh 2003). The 2003 earthquake was the first on-land earthquake 
of this magnitude since 1968 (Walsh 2003). The main quake triggered a 
small tsunami that brought flooding as far north as Haast (Jackson 
Bay), less than 100 mi (161 km) from the UWB, where the majority of the 
black stilt population lives year-round and the only known breeding 
ground for the species (McGinty & Hancox 2004; Walsh 2003). At least 
5,000 aftershocks were recorded from the 2003 earthquake, one 
registering 6.1 on the Richter scale (McGinty & Hancox 2004; NZ Herald 
2007). More than 400 landslides were triggered, the largest of which 
sent 262,000 cubic yards (yd\3\) (200,000 cubic meters (m\3\)) of soil 
crashing down the fiord at Charles Sound, triggering a 3 to 6 ft (1 to 
2 m) high tsunami that inundated surrounding vegetation 13 to 16 ft (4 
to 5 m) above sea level (McGinty & Hancox 2004). According to Maloney 
and Murray (2002), flooding was the second leading cause of egg 
mortality in a study conducted between 1977 and 1979. Stochastic 
events, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, could result in extensive 
mortalities from which the population may be unable to recover, leading 
to extinction (Caughley 1994; Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987; Maloney 
& Murray 2002).

Summary of Factor E

    The black stilt is subject to genetic dilution, including changes 
in survival and behavior, due to demographic problems and hybridization 
with the pied stilt, and is also susceptible to other genetic risks, 
such as inbreeding, due to its small population size. The species is 
vulnerable due to stochastic event, such as a tsunamis or earthquakes, 
which are known to occur in the region. We consider the species' 
extremely small population size, along with the associated risks of 
genetic dilution, demographic shifts, and vulnerability to stochastic 
events, to be significant risks factors throughout the black stilt's 
range currently and in the future.

Conclusion and Determination for the Black Stilt

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the black stilt. We have determined that the 
species is in danger of extinction throughout all of its known range 
primarily due to ongoing threats to its habitat (Factor A); predation 
(Factor C); and genetic dilution from hybridization, lack of near- and 
long-term genetic viability, and susceptibility to stochastic events 
due to risks associated small population sizes (Factor E). Furthermore, 
we have determined that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms is a contributory risk factor that endangers the species' 
continued existence (Factor D). Therefore, we are determining 
endangered status for the black stilt under the Act. Because we find 
that the black stilt is endangered throughout all of its range, there 
is no reason to consider its status in any significant portion of its 

II. Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher (Eutrichomyias Rowleyi)

Species Description

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher is a member of the Monarchidiae 
family, locally known as ``burung niu'' (Whitten 2006). It is native to 
Indonesia, and adults are about 5 in (18 cm) in height, with a long 
tail and long rictal bristles (stiff hairs around the base of the bill) 
(Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et al. 1987). There is scant biometric 
data for this species, because, other than the type specimen, only one 
additional specimen was captured, measured, and released in 1998 (Riley 
& Wardill 2001). The species is described as a bright cerulean blue 
(which can be likened to a deep blue sky) with gray undertones on the 
belly, legs, upper wing coverts (feathers) and down the sides of the 
neck to the breast (BLI 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et al. 
1987). The type specimen, which was described as a male, is slightly 
larger and duskier in appearance than the specimen measured in 1998, 
leading researchers to believe that the former specimen was a juvenile 
and the latter, a female (Riley & Wardill 2001).


    The first specimen of caerulean paradise-flycatcher was collected 
by Meyer in 1873. The species has always been placed in the 
Monarchidiae family, but within three different genera. When described 
in 1878, Meyer placed the species in the genus Zeocephus; later it was 
placed in the genus Hypothymis (Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et al. 
1987). In 1939, it was placed into the monotypic genus Eutrichomyias, 
also of the Monarchidae family, and distinguished from Hypothymis by 
its abundant rictal bristles (Riley & Wardill 2001). Riley and Wardill 
(2001) suggest that the species may be more related to Hypothermis, but 
insufficient information impedes a conclusive decision. Therefore, we 
accept the species as Eutrichomyias rowleyi, which follows the 
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS 2007).

Habitat and Life History

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher was known only from its type 
specimen until 1998. Current knowledge of its ecology and behavior are 
based on 33 sightings between 1998 and 1999 (Riley & Wardill 2001; 
Whitten et al. 1987). Riley and Wardill (2001) point out that the basic 
lack of ecological information on this species impedes its 
conservation. Information about the species' range, behavior, 
reproduction, and population size is quite limited.
    The species has been observed mostly in the steep-sloped, closed 
canopies of low-elevation broadleaf primary forest, between 1,394 and 
2,133 ft (425 and 650 m). A few birds were observed foraging on a scrub 
forest ridge top or in secondary forest, but only when those areas were 
bordered by primary forest. The caerulean paradise-flycatcher prefers 
primary forest habitat, but can forage in secondary scrub that is 
bordered by primary forest; however, the species is absent from 
disturbed habitat away from primary forest (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 

2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001).
    The species is often observed foraging in association with other 
bird species and a particular squirrel species, believed to be the 
Celebes dwarf squirrel (Prosciurillus murinius) (Riley & Wardill 2001). 
Adept at catching flies in the air, this insectivore feeds primarily in 
the canopy and sub-canopy, but is known to descend to the understory 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001).

    Experts believe that the species is sedentary, as individuals do 
not appear to move between the valleys in which they are observed 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001). The largest 

recorded flock size has been five birds (Riley & Wardill 2001). Based 
on two sightings of young, in October and in December, researchers 
presume that nesting and fledging occur in that time period 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a; Riley & Wardill 2001). Researchers believe 

the bird builds nests of palm leaves (likely Arenga spp.) in the 
branches of understory trees (including Szygium spp.) from 7 to 8 ft (2 
to 2.5 m) off the ground (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a; Riley & Wardill 

2001). Both sexes appear to care for the young (Riley & Wardill 2001).

[[Page 3155]]

Historical Range and Distribution

    The only known range of the caerulean paradise-flycatcher is on 
Sangihe Island, north of Sulawesi, Indonesia (Riley & Wardill 2001; 
Whitten et al. 1987). Sangihe Island, also known as Great Sangihe, 
Great Sangir, or Sangir Besar Island, is part of the Sangihe-Talaud 
archipelago (Whitten et al. 1987) in the waters between Sulawesi 
(northern Indonesia) and the Philippines (Brodjonegoro et al. 2004). 
The archipelago consists of two island groups, the Sangihe group and 
the Talaud group, and until 2002, the entire island group was 
administered as one unit. Thus, most available information on the 
archipelago concerns both island groups.
    The Sangihe-Talaud archipelago includes 77 islands; 56 are 
inhabited, including Sangihe (Brodjonegoro et al. 2004). The total land 
mass of the Sangihe-Talaud archipelago is 314 mi\2\ (813 km\2\) (Mous & 
DeVantier 2001), of which Sangihe Island includes 270 mi\2\ (700 km\2\) 
(Riley 2002), making it the largest island in the archipelago. The 
Island became part of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century, 
and remained primarily under Dutch control for the next 300 years 
(Simkin and Siebert 1994). In some of the earliest accounts, Sangihe 
Island was already known for its coconut and nutmeg plantations (New 
York Times Archives 1892). Most of Sangihe Island was deforested by 
1920, having been logged for timber and paper production or converted 
to cash crop plantations (Riley 2002; Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et 
al. 1987).
    The extent of the caerulean paradise-flycatcher's historic 
distribution is not well known because there have been so few sightings 
of this species. Following the initial discovery of the species in 
1873, there were only two reported sightings; both unconfirmed (Riley & 
Wardill 2001). By the 1980s, with no confirmed sightings of live 
caerulean paradise-flycatchers for over 100 years, the species was 
presumed extinct due to loss of habitat (Riley & Wardill 2001; Thompson 
1996; Whitten et al. 1987).

Current Range and Distribution

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher was rediscovered in 1998 (Riley & 
Wardill 2001), occupying the forested valleys around the base of Mount 
Sahendaruman, on the southern part of Sangihe Island (http://www.rdb.or.id; 

BLI 2001a; BLI 2005; Riley & Wardill 2001). An extinct volcano, Mt. 
Sahendaruman is variously referred to as: Gunungan Sahendaruman and 
Gunungan Sahengbalira (the latter of which is actually the name of a 
mountain peak) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a) and Pegunungan 

Sahendaruman (BLI 2004b). Mt. Sahendaruman supports the only extensive 
remaining primary forest on the island (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 

2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001) and is home to three critically-
threatened species of birds, including the caerulean paradise-
flycatcher; no other area in Indonesia supports more than one 
critically threatened bird species (BLI 2001a).
    Mt. Sahendaruman extends to an altitude of approximately 3,382 ft 
(1,031 m) (Riley 2002). The entire forest covers an area of less than 3 
mi\2\ (8 km\2\). However, because of the species' preference for 
riverine habitat at elevations from 1,394 to 2,133 ft (425 to 650 m), 
the actual range available to the flycatcher is estimated to be an area 
of 0.8 mi\2\ (2 km\2\) on the lower valleys near the fringe of the 
forest (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001). 

Moreover, because the species is rarely seen at higher elevations, 
experts believe that this species has reached its upper elevational 
limit (Riley & Wardill 2001).

Population Estimates

    The population is estimated to be between 19 and 135 individuals. 
This estimate is based on inferences made from 33 sightings between 
1998 and 1999 (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001). 

The basis for this estimate is well explained by Riley and Wardill 
(2001, p. 49), who note the possibility that the total population may 
consist of only those 19 observed birds. More recent census data is not 

Conservation Status

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher is a protected species in 
Indonesia (J.C. Wardill in litt. 1999, as cited in BLI 2001a). The IUCN 
considers this species to be ``Critically Endangered'' due to its low 
estimated population size and restricted range (BLI 2004a).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of the Caerulean Paradise-flycatcher's Habitat or Range

    Today, much of Sangihe Island is covered by plantations or 
secondary forests and the caerulean paradise-flycatcher's habitat on 
Mt. Sahendaruman provides the only remaining extensive primary forest 
on the island (Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et al. 1987). Land use 
patterns on Sangihe Island have been fairly stable (Vidaeus 2001), and 
there have been no significant forest losses on Sangihe Island (Whitten 
2006) because the Sangihe Island economy is not driven by timber 
harvest as in other parts of Indonesia. The inaccessibility of Mt. 
Sahendaruman forest made timber extraction uneconomical (Vidaeus 2001). 
However, Riley & Wardill (2001) noted that the caerulean paradise-
flycatcher likely only existed on Mt. Sahendaruman because of the 
steep, fairly inaccessible terrain.
    Most threats to the caerulean paradise-flycatcher habitat have been 
locally derived (Vidaeus 2001), caused by smaller scale activities on 
the lower fringes of the primary forest on Mt. Sahendaruman (Riley & 
Wardill 2001), including within the boundaries of the Mt. Sahendaruman 
Protection Forest (see Factor D). Forest clearing by farmers is 
generally small scale, between 53,820 to 161,459 square ft (ft\2\) 
(5,000 to 15,000 m\2\), and occurs along the fringes of the primary 
forest, which is adjacent to the species' preferred habitat. BirdLife 
International (2006c) reported that shifting cultivation has caused the 
gradual erosion of the lower fringes of the primary forest on Mt. 
Sahendaruman. Encroachment for forest product extraction on the fringes 
of the forest also disrupts the flycatcher's habitat (http://www.rdb.or.id; 

BLI 2001a, 2007d Kirby 2003a; Riley & Wardill 2001). Forest is also 
cleared for wood, paper production, conversion to cash crops, shifting 
cultivation, and settlements (Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten et al. 
1987). Researchers believe that the species has reached its upper 
elevational limit and that human pressures on the lower fringes of its 
habitat have boxed the species into its current range (http://www.rdb.or.id; 

BLI 2001a; Riley & Wardill 2001).

Summary of Factor A

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher is currently limited to an area 
of suitable habitat that may be as small as 0.8 m2 (2 
km2) on Mt. Sahendaruman. Preferring lower elevations, the 
species appears to have reached its upper elevational limit for 
suitable habitat. Encroachment on the fringes at the base of the 
mountain threatens the species to the lower extent of its range. Given 
the caerulean paradise-flycatcher's limited range and preference for 
closed-canopy primary forest, habitat modification even at a small 
scale can have a profound effect on the species. Based on the above 
information, we believe that the present and future threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the caerulean paradise-
flycatcher's habitat or range threatens the species throughout its 

[[Page 3156]]

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    While there is no documented evidence that the species is a 
specific target of hunting, researchers familiar with the area and the 
species consider indiscriminate hunting to be a risk factor for this 
species (Riley & Wardill 2001; http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a). Sangihe 

Island locals are known for hunting birds indiscriminately with air 
rifles as a hobby in and around the forests of Mt. Sahendaruman (BLI 
2001a; Riley & Wardill 2001). BirdLife International (2006c) describes 
hunting pressures on small passerines, to which group of birds the 
caerulean paradise-flycatcher belongs, as ``intensive.'' Riley and 
Wardill (2001) noted that while conducting fieldwork in Mt. 
Sahendaruman forest in 1998, a group of three hunters were observed 
carrying 20 to 30 birds of all sizes that had been shot.
    Indiscriminate hunting has resulted in declines of more accessible 
bird species on the island (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a) and locals have 

identified hunting as a key cause for the decline in bird species in 
the Mt. Sahendaruman area (BLI 2001a). The practice is so pervasive 
that BirdLife International--Indonesia Programme (Vidaeus 2001) has 
focused on creating educational materials aimed at school children to 
encourage them to find alternative hobbies to hunting. Given the 
species' extremely small population size, between 19 and 135 
individuals, indiscriminate hunting of even a few individuals would 
have a detrimental effect on the population (See Factor E).
    Riley (2002) conducted research on mammal hunting on Sangihe 
Island, finding that, after habitat loss, hunting pressure was the 
biggest threat on the island. In interviews with local farmers, 77 
percent of the farmers admitted to hunting mammals variously using air 
rifles, snares and mist nets. Furthermore, hunting pressure was 
particularly high for the bear cuscus (Ailurops ursinus melanotis), a 
small marsupial found only in the primary forests of Mt. Sahendaruman, 
the same habitat as the caerulean paradise-flycatcher. Riley and 
Wardill (2001) characterize the flycatcher as adverse to human 
disturbance, and hunting pressures in the same habitat as the 
flycatcher contribute to disturbance activities that are disruptive to 
the species (as described under Factor A).
    The species is not known to be in international trade and has not 
been formally considered for listing under CITES (http://www.cites.org).

Summary of Factor B

    Indiscriminate bird hunting and hunting-related disturbances are 
widespread within the species' range (Mt. Sahendaruman forest). The 
species has an extremely small population size and is adverse to human 
disturbance. We consider incidental hunting and hunting disturbances to 
be factors that threaten this species throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    There is no available evidence indicating that disease or predation 
have led to decline in caerulean paradise-flycatcher populations or 
contribute to the species' risk of extinction.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher was declared a protected species 
by the Indonesian government in January 1999 (J. C. Wardill in litt. 
1999 as cited in BLI 2001a). Protected species are regulated under the 
Act of the Republic of Indonesia No. 5 of 1990 Concerning Conservation 
of Living Resources and Their Ecosystems (Act No. 5 1990). Under this 
Act, hunting, capturing, killing, possession, or trade in protected 
species or their parts is prohibited, except as permitted for research, 
science, or conservation purposes (Article 21-22). Despite this law, an 
analysis conducted by the IUCN (World Conservation Union) in 2003 found 
that this species remained insufficiently protected (Conservation 
International 2003). Lee et al. (2005) noted that Indonesia has over 
``150 existing national laws and regulations to protect its wildlife 
species and area * * * however, Indonesia lacks an integrated system of 
law enforcement'' (p. 478). Problems include lack of awareness of 
wildlife laws and inadequate monitoring capability among law 
enforcement officials (Lee et al. 2005). Evidence of continued 
indiscriminate hunting within the species' habitat indicates that the 
caerulean paradise-flycatcher's listing as protected in 1999 has not 
reduced the threat of hunting (Factor B).
    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher's habitat lies within an 
approximately 16 mi 2 (43 km 2) area centered on 
Mt. Sahendaruman that has been designated as Protection Forest since 
1994, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Forestry (Riley & 
Wardill 2001). However, Whitten (2006) noted that protection forests do 
not confer specific protections on the wildlife found therein; for 
example, hunting is not prohibited (Whitten 2006). Thus, the species is 
not adequately protected from hunting due to its presence within the 
Mt. Sahendaruman Protection Forest.
    Plans that began in 2001 to have the Mt. Sahendaruman Protection 
Forest designated a wildlife preserve, with core areas as a strict 
nature reserve (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001), 

have not been implemented (Whitten 2006). However, such a designation 
might not benefit the species. According to experts, designating this 
habitat as a nature reserve would shift management of the area from the 
local government to the central government. This centralization of 
enforcement and administration might be unresponsive or ineffective in 
protecting the species and may not produce the most viable options for 
long-term conservation of the species (Vidaeus 2001; Whitten 2006). 
Because this designation has not been enacted, we are unable to 
evaluate whether this regulatory mechanism might effectively address 
the issues of habitat destruction (Factor A) and hunting (Factor B).
    The species' habitat is also inadequately protected (BLI 2003a, 
2004b; Conservation International 2003; Whitten 2006). There are no 
strictly protected areas on the island (Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten 
2006). The Mt. Sahendaruman Protection Forest is managed for its 
watershed value (Riley 2002; Riley & Wardill 2001). Although the Mt. 
Sahendaruman Protection Forest contains the only remaining primary 
forest on the island that is suitable for the caerulean paradise-
flycatcher (Riley & Wardill 2001), small-scale forest conversion for 
agricultural purposes and non-timber forest product extraction occurs 
on the fringes of the forest (see Factor A). Local rights to manage 
cultivation and settlement areas within the Protection Forest are among 
the key disputes between locals and the forestry department (BLI 
2001a). Thus, the habitat's status as a Protection Forest does not 
protect the species from threats of habitat modification.
    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher has been included in a 
biodiversity project, Action Sampiri. Members of the Action Sampiri 
research team, Riley and Wardill, rediscovered this species in 1998 
(Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten 2006). Present-day members of Action 
Sampiri (now known as Yayasan Sampiri) were contracted to develop a 
public awareness program on the merits of enhancing forest protection 
as part of a comprehensive conservation project for the Sangihe-Talaud 
islands being implemented by BirdLife International and the World Bank, 
with funding from the Global Environment Facility

[[Page 3157]]

(Whitten 2006). Conservation efforts that focus on people's awareness 
of the forest and its value, including potential for ecotourism with 
the prospect for local employment opportunities, are considered 
important to the species' long-term conservation (BLI Indonesia Program 
2001; Riley & Wardill 2001; Whitten 2006). For instance, the caerulean 
paradise-flycatcher is among the endemic birds designated as island 
mascots, which has promoted greater awareness of the species among 
locals and has led to a general reduction in indiscriminate hunting 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a).

Summary of Factor D

    Based on the above information, existing regulatory mechanisms are 
not adequate to reduce or remove threats from habitat destruction 
(Factor A) and hunting (Factor B). Encroachment and destruction along 
the fringes of the species' habitat are significant current and future 
threats for this species, yet the species' habitat is insufficiently 
protected. Further, the lack of enforcement of protections against take 
and inadequate protection within its habitat does not adequately reduce 
or remove the threat of hunting. We believe that the inadequacy of 
regulatory mechanisms and their enforcement are contributory risk 
factors that threaten the species now and in the future.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    The caerulean paradise-flycatcher's small estimated population 
size, between 19 and 135 individuals (BLI 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001), 
makes this species vulnerable to any of several risks, including 
inbreeding depression, loss of genetic variation, and accumulation of 
new mutations. Inbreeding can have individual or population-level 
consequences by either increasing the phenotypic expression of 
recessive, deleterious alleles or by reducing the overall fitness of 
individuals in the population (Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987). 
Small, isolated populations of wildlife species are also susceptible to 
demographic problems (Shaffer 1981), which may include reduced 
reproductive success of individuals and chance disequilibrium of sex 
ratios. In the absence of more species-specific life history data, a 
general approximation of minimum viable population sizes is referred to 
as the 50/500 rule (Soul[eacute] 1980; Hunter 1996), as described under 
Factor E of the black stilt. The available information indicates that 
the population of the caerulean paradise-flycatcher may be as small as 
19 birds (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001); this 

is clearly below the minimum effective population size (Ne = 
50 individuals) required to avoid risks from inbreeding. Moreover the 
upper limit of the population estimate of no more than 135 birds 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001a, 2007d; Riley & Wardill 2001) is a quarter of 

the upper threshold (Ne = 500) required for long-term 
fitness of a population that will not lose its genetic diversity over 
time and will maintain an enhanced capacity to adapt to changing 
conditions. As such, we currently consider the species to be at 
significant risk of potential demographic shifts and lack of near- and 
long-term viability.

Summary of Factor E

    Demographic shifts and lack of near- and long-term viability 
associated with the extant population's small size are major risks to 
the caerulean paradise-flycatcher. Therefore, we consider the species' 
extremely small population size and the risks associated with loss of 
genetic diversity and demographic shifts to be significant factors that 
threaten the caerulean paradise-flycatcher throughout its range 
currently and in the future.

Conclusion and Determination for the Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the caerulean paradise-flycatcher. We have 
determined that the species is in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its known range primarily due to disturbance and encroachment of its 
habitat (Factor A), threats from hunting and hunting-related 
disturbances (Factor B), and lack of near- and long-term genetic 
viability associated with the species' small population size (Factor 
E). Furthermore, we have determined that the inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms to reduce or remove these threats is a 
contributory factor to the risks that endanger this species' continued 
existence (Factor D). Therefore, we are determining endangered status 
for the caerulean paradise-flycatcher under the Act. Because we find 
that the caerulean paradise-flycatcher is endangered throughout all of 
its range, there is no reason to consider its status in any significant 
portion of its range.

III. Giant Ibis (Pseudibis Gigantea)

Species Description

    The giant ibis is a waterbird in the family Threskiornithidae. It 
is native to Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (hereafter, Lao 
PDR), and Vietnam. Adults stand approximately 3 ft (1 m) tall, and have 
dark grey-brown plumage, with a dark hindcrown and nape. Wing-coverts 
are pale gray, with darker tips. They have light red legs, a long 
downward curving bill, and red eyes. Juveniles have short, black 
feathers on their hindcrown and hindneck, a shorter bill, and brown 
eyes (BLI 2007h).


    The species was first taxonomically described by Oustalet in 1877 
and named Pseudibis gigantea, in the Threskiornithidae family. That 
same year, Elliot placed the species in its own monotypic genus 
Thaumatibis, in the same family, on the basis that the giant ibis is 
much larger and less colorful than all other ibises (BLI 2007h). We 
accept the species as Pseudibis gigantea, which follows the Integrated 
Taxonomic Information System (ITIS 2007).

Habitat and Life History

    The giant ibis requires large areas of undisturbed habitat in 
deciduous dipterocarp forest and associated wetlands (Tom Clements, 
Wildlife Conservation Society--Cambodia Program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 
in litt. December 2007). It is found in open habitats (open wooded 
plains, humid clearings) and deciduous forested wetlands (pools in deep 
forest, lakes, swamps, seasonally flooded marshes, paddy fields) (BLI 
2007h; Collar et al. 1994b; Matheu & del Hoyo 1992). The mix of dry 
forest and freshwater swamp ecosystems is found only in this region 
(WWF 2001, 2005). Freshwater swamp habitat is flooded at least 6 months 
of the year and consists of shrubland (dominated by a nearly continuous 
canopy of deciduous species, including spurges (Euphorbiaceae family) 
and legumes (Fabaceae family)) and of forestland (dominated by 
mangroves (Rhizophoraceae family) and melaleucas (Melaleuca spp.)). The 
freshwater swamp ecosystem is found only in Cambodia and Vietnam (WWF 
2001). Lower Mekong dry forests, found only in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and 
Vietnam, also provide habitat to the giant ibis. These forests are 
characterized by deciduous tropical hardwoods (Dipterocarpaceae family) 
and semi-evergreen forest (containing a mix of deciduous and evergreen 
trees) interspersed with meadows, ponds, and

[[Page 3158]]

other wetlands. Semi-evergreen forests are unique to mainland Southeast 
Asia (WWF 2006b).
    Although considered nonmigratory, the giant ibis will travel to 
seek out permanent pools of water during the dry season (Bird et al. 
2006; Matheu & del Hoyo 1992). The giant ibis may forage alone, in 
pairs or in small groups (BLI 2007h). Preferring mudflats, they use 
their bills to probe in the mud for a variety of seeds and small 
animals, including invertebrates, small amphibians, and reptiles 
(Clements et al. 2007; Davidson et al. 2002). Although considered a 
wetland species, the giant ibis will also forage in dry areas; it is 
believed that this is an adaptation to the lengthy dry season within 
its range (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; Davidson et al. 2002).

    Until recently, little was known about giant ibis breeding biology, 
except that the species was believed to nest in trees as other ibises 
do (BLI 2007h). A nesting survey was conducted in Preah Vihear 
Protected Forest (PVPF) and Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS) 
between 2004 and 2007 (Clements et al. 2007). The majority of giant 
ibises bred in remote areas, sing wetlands that have a minimal human 
presence (T. Clements in litt. December 2007). The number of nests 
remained fairly stable over the four years of the surveys, although 
their locations changed. Researchers found an average of 19 nests in 
the 534-mi2 (1,383-km2) area surveyed in PVPF and 
7 nests in the 726-mi2 (1,881-km2) KPWS. Fledging 
success was estimated at around 50 percent, suggesting that the 
population was not increasing. Researchers determined that weather and 
predation were the primary limiting factors (Clements et al. 2007). See 
Factor C.
    The giant ibis is characterized as highly sensitive to human 
disturbance (Bird et al. 2006; http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; T. 

Clements in litt. December 2007; Clements et al. 2007; Dudley 2007; 
Eames et al. 2004). Clements (in litt. December 2007) postulated that 
the species' sensitivity to human populations is due to disturbance 
(e.g., at feeding ponds) and incidental persecution through hunting and 
poisoning of water sources (see Factors A and B).

Historical Range and Distribution

    The giant ibis's historical range extended from central and 
peninsular Thailand; through northern, central, and coastal regions of 
Cambodia; southern and central Lao PDR; and southern Vietnam 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b).

    A comparison of recorded observations of this species maintained by 
BirdLife International (2001b) paints an erratic picture of the 
``appearance'' and ``disappearance'' of the giant ibis in each range 
country during the 20th century. The species has been suspected or 
considered extinct in each of its range countries at least once since 
it was first described in 1877. In the early part of the century, the 
species was observed most often in Thailand. In the mid-1920s, the 
species was seen only in Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Vietnam (http://www.rdb.or.id; 

BLI 2001b). By 1992, the species was considered extant only in Vietnam 
and possibly in Cambodia (Matheu & del Hoyo 1992). By the end of the 
20th century, the species was considered extinct in Vietnam and 
Thailand, and extant primarily in Cambodia and in Lao PDR to a lesser 
extent (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h). Today, the species is 

considered extinct only in Thailand (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Matheu & 

del Hoyo 1992).
    Experts have noted several factors unrelated to the species' actual 
status that have contributed to this erratic record: (1) The records 
may not be complete because sightings may go unreported or unconfirmed 
for several years (BLI 2001b; Matheu & del Hoyo 1992) (e.g., in 
Vietnam, there were several unconfirmed sightings in the 1980s); (2) 
nearly continuous war in the last half of the 20th century in one or 
all of the range countries may have impeded expeditions to locate the 
species (Matheu & del Hoyo 1992) (e.g., Cambodia experienced a nearly 
50-year period of war, during which time there were only four sightings 
of the species); and, (3) the habitat may be remote or the terrain 
difficult to access, which might also impede opportunities to observe 
the species (Duckworth et al. 1998). For these reasons, recorded 
sightings (or the lack thereof) cannot be used as a basis for 
concluding extinction (Butchart et al. 2006).
    Specific information for each range country follows.
    Cambodia: The first specimen of giant ibis was obtained in Cambodia 
in 1876, but no additional sightings were reported until 1918. 
Historically, the species' range spanned from the north through central 
region and into the eastern portions of the country. The giant ibis was 
observed several times in the 1920s and 1930s, but only four times 
between 1939 and 1989 (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). In 1992, experts 

believed the species might be extant in Cambodia, but indicated that 
the recent reports had been unconfirmed (Matheu & del Hoyo 1992). The 
species was observed again in 2000 (see Current Range, below). 
Disturbance and hunting are two factors attributed to the species' 
decline (Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) 2007a, 2007b, 2007c).
    Lao PDR: The giant ibis was not reported from Lao PDR until 1926. 
Thereafter, it was observed only once each decade in the 1930s and the 
1940s. Based on the paucity of sightings, it was never believed to be 
common in Lao PDR (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). By 1992, the species was 

no longer considered extant in Lao PDR (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; 

Matheu & del Hoyo 1992), although the species was observed again the 
next year (see Current range, below). Historical declines are 
attributed to hunting and wetland draining or other human disturbances 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b).

    Thailand: This species was observed in Thailand several times 
between 1896 and 1913, at a time when it was not being reported in any 
of the other range countries, except for one sighting in Cambodia. All 
sightings were made in the southern regions of Thailand and there have 
been no confirmed sightings of this species in Thailand since 1913 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). From the scant sightings of this species, 

researchers are uncertain whether the giant ibis was ever resident to 
Thailand, or just a visitor (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). Since 1992, the 

species has been considered extinct in Thailand, primarily due to loss 
of habitat from wetland draining (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Matheu & 

del Hoyo 1992).
    Vietnam: The species was observed once late in the 19th century and 
not seen again until the mid-1920s, when it was observed several times 
until 1931. By the turn of the 21st century, the giant ibis was 
believed extirpated from Vietnam, with no confirmed sightings between 
1931 and 2003 (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Eames et al. 2004). The 

species was rediscovered in 2003. Hunting is considered the primary 
cause of the historical decline, and land conversion to agriculture is 
a secondary cause (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b).

Current Range and Distribution

    The giant ibis' current range is the mix of dry forest and 
freshwater swamp forest ecosystems of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam; 
it is considered extirpated from Thailand (BLI 2000a, 2001b; 
http://www.rdb.or.id; BirdLife International--Indochina Programme (BLI-IP) & 

Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) 2004; 
Eames et al. 2004; World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 2001, 2005). Each 
range country is discussed below.

[[Page 3159]]

    Cambodia: Between 1992 and 2002, there were no confirmed giant ibis 
sightings in Cambodia. However, since 2002, the species has been 
observed at several sites throughout Cambodia. Observations in 2002 and 
2003 suggest that the species continues to inhabit its historic range 
in the north, central, and eastern provinces. In the Northern Plains, 
the giant ibis has been observed in Stung Treng and Preah Vihar 
Provinces (bordering Lao PDR), and Kratie Province (Bird et al. 2006; 
http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Clements et al. 2007). The Northern Plains 

are considered the largest remaining contiguous tract of seasonally 
inundated meadows and permanent pools within a deciduous dipterocarp 
forest (Davidson et al. 2002). In central Cambodia, the species has 
been observed in the Tonle Sap floodplains (Kompong Thom and Siem Reap) 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Clements et al. 2007). The Tonle Sap 

floodplain and associated rivers is considered one of the few remaining 
remnants of freshwater swamp forest type in the region. Approximately 
2,120 mi\2\ (5,490 km\2\) of the freshwater swamp forest ecoregion is 
protected in Cambodia. Of this amount, the Tonle Sap Great Lake 
Protected Area (which includes the Tonle Sap floodplain) makes up 2,092 
mi\2\ (5,420 km\2\) of that protected habitat (WWF 2001). In eastern 
Cambodia, the species has been located in the Lomphat Wildlife 
Sanctuary (Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri Provinces) (Bird et al. 2006; 
http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Clements et al. 2007; Davidson et al. 2002). 

The Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary spans a 965 mi\2\ (2,500 km\2\) area in 
northeastern Cambodia (in Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri Provinces) near 
the Vietnam border (WildAid 2003, 2005). The Lomphat Sanctuary is 
considered to be one of the most important areas for wildlife in 
Cambodia (WildAid 2005).
    More recent sightings suggest that the giant ibis' range may extend 
further south and east than previously understood (Bird et al. 2006). 
The species has been observed in Kampot Province (the southernmost 
Province in Cambodia) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b) and in the buffer zone 

of Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area (SBCA) (Kratie and Mondulkiri 
Provinces, eastern Cambodia) (Bird et al. 2006; Clements et al. 2007). 
The SBCA was designated in 2002 and encompasses a 540 mi\2\ (1,400 
km\2\) area (WCS 2007b).
    Lao PDR: The giant ibis was believed extinct in Lao PDR in 1992 
(Matheu & del Hoyo 1992). The following year, an observation was 
confirmed and it has since been observed in Lao PDR several times. 
Based on surveys conducted in 1998, no giant ibises were found in 
central Lao PDR (Duckworth et al. 1998), indicating that the giant ibis 
may no longer be present in central Lao PDR, as it was historically 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). Previously suspected to be nonresident 

(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b), however in 2007 it is being reported as a 

resident (BLI 2007b).
    The giant ibis has been found in the open deciduous forest of two 
areas in extreme southern Lao PDR: Xe Pian National Biodiversity 
Conservation Area (NBCA) (Champasak and Attapeu Provinces) and Dong 
Khanthung proposed NBCA (Champasak Province) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 

2007b; Clements et al. 2007; Poole 2002) and giant ibis may only be a 
frequent visitor to Lao PDR there from Cambodia. The Xe Pain NBCA is 
927 mi\2\ (2,400 km\2\) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c). The Dong Khanthung 

proposed NBCA has not yet been defined or approved (BLI 2007b).
    Thailand: The species has not been observed in Thailand since 1913 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b).

    Vietnam: At the turn of the 21st century, giant ibis was believed 
extirpated from Vietnam, with no confirmed sightings since 1931 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Eames et al. 2004). However, in 2003, 

several giant ibises were observed during surveys in Yok Don National 
Park (BLI-IP & MARD 2004; Eames et al. 2004; World Wide Fund for Nature 
(WWF) 2005). Located in Dok Lok Province in central Vietnam, the Park 
shares a western border with Cambodia. There is some speculation that 
the birds flew over the border from Cambodia (Mondulkiri Province) (WWF 
2005), but this has not been confirmed or refuted.

Population Estimates

    Population estimates are provided for the global population of 
giant ibis as well as for each range country. The range country 
estimates should not be considered distinct subpopulations. Very little 
is known about the species' ecology and dispersal, and all known areas 
where giant ibis have been observed are contiguous. There may be some 
interchange between populations and researchers have been unable to 
identify discrete subpopulations of this species (T. Clements in litt. 
December 2007).
    Global population estimates: The giant ibis is characterized as 
uncommon and local throughout its range (Matheu & del Hoyo 1992; BLI 
2000a). It occurs at relatively low densities and requires large areas 
of undisturbed habitat (deciduous dipterocarp forest and associated 
wetlands) (T. Clements in litt. December 2007). The majority of the 
giant ibis population today is located in Cambodia, with a small number 
in southern Lao PDR, even fewer in Vietnam, and no known individuals in 
Thailand (BLI 2000a, 2001b; http://www.rdb.or.id; Clements et al. 2007). The 

population has been conservatively estimated at a minimum of 100 pairs, 
with no more than 250 total individuals (Clements et al. 2007).
    Cambodia: Population surveys have been conducted in several areas 
since the giant ibis' rediscovery in Cambodia in 2000. Aerial surveys 
between 2000 and 2001 indicated that between 50 birds and 90 were 
located in the Northern Plains (BLI-IP & MARD 2004). Based on the nest 
surveys conducted between 2004 and 2007 in Preah Vihear Protected 
Forest (PVPF) and Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS), also in the 
Northern Plains, there was evidence of 28 nesting pairs of birds 
(Clements et al. 2007). Extrapolating to the available suitable habitat 
within the Northern Plains (including the Tonle Sap Lake), researchers 
estimated the population in the Northern Plains at 30 to 40 pairs. In 
the Eastern Plains (including the Siema Biodiversity Conservation Area 
(SBCA) and the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary), the population has been 
estimated at no more than 10 to 20 pairs. In northeastern Cambodia, 
Siem Pang (Stung Treng Province) surveys suggest that an excess of 14 
pairs may exist. The total giant ibis population in Cambodia, based on 
available suitable habitat, is 82 to 100 pairs (Clements et al. 2007).
    Lao PDR: The giant ibis Laotian population is estimated to include 
no more than 5 to 10 pairs of birds (Clements et al. 2007).
    Vietnam: In 2003 and 2004, several giant ibises were observed 
during surveys in Yok Don National Park (Don Lok Province), the only 
known location within Vietnam (BLI-IP & MARD 2004; Eames et al. 2004; 
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 2005). Yok Don National Park, which 
occupies a 446-mi\2\ (1,155-km\2\) area, became a protected area in 
1986 and a national park in 1991. The forest has three use areas: A 
312-mi\2\ (809-km\2\) strict protection area, a 117-mi\2\ (3,043-km\2\) 
forest rehabilitation area, and a 16-mi\2\ (42-km\2\) administration 
and services area. In addition, a 517-mi\2\ (1,339-km\2\) buffer zone 
has been defined (Eames et al. 2004). However, these protections are 
ineffective at reducing or removing threats directed at the species 
(see Factor D).
    Eames et al. (2004) postulated that the species is either very rare 
or a visitor in Vietnam. The Yok Don area is contiguous with sites in 
Cambodia (such

[[Page 3160]]

as Eastern Mondulkiri) that are known to support resident breeding 
birds of giant ibises (T. Clements in litt. December 2007). During the 
re-evaluation of the species' status, experts concluded that Yok Don 
National Park is unlikely to support any breeding pairs (Clements et 
al. 2007). They considered that the birds observed within the Park were 
likely to be foraging or dispersing birds and that it was unlikely that 
the Park ``supported resident breeding birds due to the high level of 
disturbance and hunting'' (T. Clements in litt. December 2007).

Conservation Status

    Global conservation status: Using the IUCN categories, the global 
population of giant ibis falls within the range of 50 to 250 
individuals (BLI 2007h). The recent rediscovery of giant ibis in 
Vietnam and additional populations in Cambodia prompted BirdLife to re-
evaluate the species' status in 2007 (Jez Bird, Global Species 
Programme Assistant, BirdLife International, in litt. November 2007; 
BirdLife Globally Threatened Species Forum 2007). They concluded that, 
despite recent new sightings of giant ibis in Vietnam and Cambodia, 
there was insufficient evidence to confirm that the giant ibis 
population exceeds 250 individuals (Clements et al. 2007; J. Bird in 
litt. November 2007).
    The giant ibis has been categorized by the IUCN as a ``Critically 
Endangered'' since 1994 (BLI 2004c). BirdLife International, which 
serves as the IUCN Red List authority for birds, re-evaluated the 
status of the species in 2007 and decided to retain its critically 
endangered status for the 2008 Red List (J. Bird in litt. November 
2007; Clements et al. 2007).
    Cambodia: In 2005, the giant ibis was declared the national 
symbolic bird in Cambodia (Chheang Dany, Deputy Director, Wildlife 
Protection Office, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in litt. January 2007) and, as 
of 2007, the species had been proposed as endangered in the draft 
wildlife list in Cambodia, the highest protected species category by 
the Forestry Law of 2002. However, this regulatory mechanism is 
ineffective at reducing or removing threats directed at the species 
(see Factor D).
    Lao PDR: In Lao PDR, the giant ibis is legally protected and 
receives some habitat protection in the Xe Pian National Biodiversity 
Conservation Area (NBCA) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b). However, these 

regulatory mechanisms are ineffective at reducing or removing threats 
directed at the species (see Factor D).
    Vietnam: In Vietnam, the species is listed as endangered (Eames et 
al. 2004). However, this regulatory mechanism is ineffective at 
reducing or removing threats directed at the species (see Factor D).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Giant Ibis

    Where applicable in the sections below, factors affecting the 
survival of the giant ibises are discussed in two parts: (1) Regional 
factors (affecting or including two or more range countries), and (2) 
Factors within individual range countries.

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of the Species Habitat or Range

    Giant ibis is affected throughout its range by (1) habitat 
modification from dam construction, (2) deforestation caused by war, 
(3) illegal logging and wood fuel collection, (4), and continued human 
encroachment (Bird et al. 2006; BLI 2007h; T. Clements in litt. 
December 2007; Clements et al. 2007; Poole 2002; WWF 2001, 2005).
    (1) Habitat modification from dam construction: Dam construction 
along the Mekong River Basin (MRB) has altered giant ibis habitat 
throughout its range. The MRB begins as a system of tributaries and 
streams originating in the Tibetan Plateau and flowing eventually into 
the Mekong River Delta, 2,000 mi (4,800 km) from start to finish. 
Including parts of China, Myanmar and Vietnam, nearly one-third the 
land area of Thailand, and most of Cambodia and Lao PDR, the MRB 
encompasses a 307,000 mi\2\ (795,000 km\2\) area. The Lower Mekong 
River Basin (LMRB) includes Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam 
(Mekong River Commission (MRC) 2007). According to the Asian 
Development Bank (ADB 2005), 13 dams are built, being built, or 
proposed to be built along the Mekong River Subregion. This important 
regional resource has a profound influence on each of the diverse 
ecosystems through which it flows, including giant ibis habitat. Two 
examples are discussed.
    Construction of Yali Falls hydroelectric dam began in Vietnam in 
1993 and was completed in 1999. The 226-ft (69-m) high dam was 
constructed at Yali Falls, on a tributary of the Sesan River. Part of 
the LMRB, the Sesan River originates in Vietnam and flows through 
Cambodia, where it meets the Mekong River. The Mekong River, in turn, 
flows into the Tonle Sap floodplain (Center for Natural Resources and 
Environmental Studies (CRES) 2001). The Tonle Sap floodplain, currently 
the southernmost extreme of the giant ibis' range in Cambodia, and 
freshwater swamp forest ecosystem rely on the Mekong River as part of 
its seasonal cycle of flooding (WWF 2001). A study of the impact of 
this dam on downstream communities in 2001 found that the effect of the 
dam on humans (including resettlement, drowning in unexpected floods, 
and livelihood changes especially for fishermen) would be ``significant 
but manageable,'' by relocating communities inland, for instance. The 
report also noted no anticipated impacts on waterbirds (CRES 2001). 
However, the study did not look beyond Vietnam and the effects of water 
flow disruption further downstream, including Tonle Sap floodplain in 
Cambodia. Within the first year of the dam's completion, massive 
devastating floods were reported downstream (CRES 2001).
    Dam construction along the Srepok River, which flows through giant 
ibis habitat in Vietnam and Cambodia, has also altered the species' 
habitat. Construction of the Buon Koup Dam began in 2003 (San et al. 
2007), altering the natural water and vegetation patterns along the 
Srepok River, affecting Yok Don National Park (Eames et al. 2004). A 
draft environmental impact analysis (EIA) identified several impacts to 
people living along the Cambodian side of the river, including daily 
irregular water fluctuations, erosion of riverbanks, and water 
pollution, as well as impacts on paddy production, fish migration, 
fishing livelihoods, and species diversity (San et al. 2007). In 
response to unpredictable water levels and flash flooding caused by 
dams, people began moving inland (ADB 2005).
    Dam construction along the MRB has diverted water from critical 
ecosystems and has altered or threatens to alter the natural water and 
vegetation along waterways within the Mekong River Delta, a vital water 
source throughout the species' range. Impacts include drastic water 
level fluctuations, frequent flooding, and reduced water levels during 
the dry season, as well as the potential for riverbank erosion and 
increased water pollution. As populations move further inland to escape 
the unpredictable changes caused by dam construction, they encroach 
upon inland forested areas, including freshwater swamp ecosystems and 
semi-evergreen forests, which serve as giant ibis habitat (See (4) 
Continued human encroachment, below). The giant ibis is adverse to 
human disturbance (Bird et al., 2006; http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; 

Dudley 2007; Eames et

[[Page 3161]]

al., 2004), and increased human disturbance exacerbates the impact of 
habitat modification caused by dam construction. See also (4) Continued 
human encroachment, below.
    (2) Deforestation from war: The entire range of the giant ibis was 
severely affected by deforestation resulting from the Vietnam War (1959 
to 1975). Bombing, herbicide spraying, and land-clearing activities 
were undertaken during the War. According to Westing (2002), 13.8 
million U.S. tons (14 million metric tons) of high-explosive munitions 
were dropped by the United States throughout the region, including 5 
percent in Cambodia, 16 percent in Lao PDR, 8 percent in northern 
Vietnam, and 71 percent in southern Vietnam, targeting primarily rural 
areas. Between 18 to 19 million gallons (gal) (68 to 72 million liters 
(l)) of herbicides (including Agent Orange contaminated with dioxin 
(see Factor E)) were sprayed on the region (Schechter et al., 2001; 
Westing 2002). Of this amount, less than 0.1 percent was sprayed in 
Cambodia, 2 percent in Lao PDR, negligible amounts in northern Vietnam, 
and over 98 percent in southern Vietnam. Finally, 3 percent (1,255 
mi\2\ (3,250 km\2\)) of the total forested area in South Vietnam was 
plowed over with tractors (Westing 2002). Inland forested areas, 
including freshwater swamp ecosystems and semi-evergreen forests, which 
serve as giant ibis habitat, were especially affected by herbicide 
applications during the war, where up to 77 percent of the total 
spraying occurred (Boi 2002). The most affected areas of bombing, 
spraying, and bulldozing correspond with the historic range of the 
giant ibis, where the species went unobserved until 1993, and the 
figures for southern Vietnam are particularly informative, where the 
species remains unobserved to this day (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c).

    (3) Illegal logging and wood fuel collection: The open and 
deciduous forested wetland habitats preferred by the giant ibis species 
have diminished over much of Indochina, and only Cambodia retains 
significant portions of this habitat (WWF 2005). Deforestation from 
illegal logging and wood fuel collection has reduced the number of 
nesting sites available to the species (BLI 2007h; Poole 2002). In 
addition, it led to increased habitat disturbance (see (4), Continued 
human encroachment).
    Cambodia: Poole (2002) reported that large nesting trees around 
Cambodia's Tonle Sap floodplain, particularly crucial to ibises for 
nesting, are under increasing pressure by felling for firewood and 
building material. Illegal logging has been reported in Trapeang Boeung 
(Global Witness 2007), where the giant ibis was observed in 2003 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b), and in the SBCA, where the species was 

observed in 2006 (Bird et al., 2006).
    Lao PDR: Logging has been reported in the Xe Pian National 
Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA), where the giant ibis has been 
observed, perhaps as a seasonal visitor (Robichaud et al., 2001).
    In Vietnam: Deforestation in Vietnam has been significant 
throughout the 20th century. In 1943, approximately 43 percent of the 
total land area in Vietnam was covered by natural forest. This 
corresponded to 54,054 mi\2\ (140,000 km\2\). By 1945, 22,007 mi\2\ 
(57,000 km\2\) of natural forest had been cleared (Brown et al., 2001). 
By 1990, the total forested area had been reduced to 27 percent, nearly 
half the amount of 1943 (Boi 2002).
    Logging bans in Vietnam became progressively more pervasive in the 
1990s. In 1992, logging in watershed and special-use forests was 
banned. In 1999, all commercial logging in natural forests in the 
northern highlands and midlands, the southeast, and in the Mekong River 
and Red River Delta Provinces was banned. As of 2001, 58 percent of 
Vietnam's natural forests were covered by the ban (Brown et al., 2001). 
(See Factor D.)
    The government planned to obtain its wood needs from plantation 
forests (Brown et al., 2001). In 1999, the total forested area had 
increased to 33 percent, corresponding to 36,464 mi\2\ (94,440 km\2\). 
This figure included 5,680 mi\2\ (14,710 km\2\) of plantation forest, 
only 1 percent of which represented deciduous forest (Boi 2002). The 
increase in plantations forests led to changes in species composition.
    Changes in species composition led to changes in the amount of 
forest cover. Following the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) 
classifications for forest cover, Cuong (1999) determined from remote 
sensing data that, between 1943 and 1995, forest cover in Vietnam 
transformed from 43 percent cover (which considered to be medium forest 
cover by FAO), to 28 percent (which FAO considers to be open forest).
    (4) Continued human encroachment: Habitat alteration from dam 
construction and destruction caused by war are compounded by human 
encroachment throughout the species' range (see also (2), Factors 
within individual range countries, below).
    Cambodia: In Cambodia's Tonle Sap floodplain, the effects of dam 
construction are exacerbated by agricultural conversion (Eames et al. 
2004). Tonle Sap floodplain is considered ``prime rice-growing 
habitat'' (WWF 2001, p. 1). Extensive cultivation during the dry season 
and the impacts from fishing communities along the delta, disrupt the 
natural water cycle, resulting in drastic water level fluctuations 
within the Mekong River Delta, with frequent flooding and lower water 
levels during the dry season (WWF 2001).
    The buffer zone of Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area 
(SBCA) (Kratie and Mondulkiri Province), where giant ibis was observed 
in 2006 (Bird et al. 2006), is threatened by a variety of human 
activities, including road building, increased subsistence activities, 
and collection of non-timber forest products (Bird et al. 2006; WCS 
2007b). Resin tapping is common throughout the SBCA, and the 
concomitant increase in the number of people entering the SBCA to 
undertake this and other extractive activities poses an additional 
threat to the giant ibis (Bird et al. 2006), which is highly sensitive 
to human disturbance (Bird et al. 2006; http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 

2007h; T. Clements in litt. December 2007; Clements et al. 2007; Dudley 
2007; Eames et al. 2004).
    Lao PDR: Robichaud et al. (2001) identified the following ongoing 
internal and external threats to giant ibis habitat in the Xe Pian 
National Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA): (1) Subsistence 
agriculture, (2) subsistence hunting, (3) trade hunting, (4) 
subsistence fishing, (5) trade fishing, (6) free-ranging livestock, (7) 
road construction, and (8) infrastructure development.
    Vietnam: Giant ibis habitat in Vietnam's Yok Don National Park is 
threatened by road building, road improvements, and artificial 
waterhole creation on sites of natural ``trapeangs'' (seasonal and 
permanent waterholes). Giant mimosa (Mimosa pigra) has spread rapidly 
along the Srepok River since the 1980s (Eames et al. 2004). Giant 
mimosa is an aggressively invasive plant that forms dense thickets, 
closing formerly open habitats and outcompeting native species (WWF 
    The giant ibis requires large areas of undisturbed habitat and is 
known to be highly sensitive to human disturbance (Bird et al. 2006; 
http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; T. Clements in litt. December 2007; 

Clements et al. 2007; Dudley 2007; Eames et al. 2004). In the nesting 
surveys conducted between 2004 and 2007, researchers found that the 
most nests were located more than 3 mi (5 km) from villages (Clements 
et al. 2007). Bird et al. (2006) studied the effect of habitat 
disturbance on several large waterbirds, including the giant

[[Page 3162]]

ibis. They found that the giant ibis was significantly less likely to 
visit watering holes that were frequented by humans. The majority of 
the species breeds in remote areas and uses wetlands that have minimal 
human presence (T. Clements in litt. December 2007).
    Habitat fragmentation caused by loss of habitat is compounded by 
human disturbance and is likely to have a disproportionate effect on 
the remaining individuals (Clements et al. 2007). According to Clements 
(in litt. December 2007), continuing expansion of human settlements and 
wetland manipulation are likely to cause strong declines over time, 
even if deforestation rates are low.

Summary of Factor A

    Giant ibis habitat has been destroyed and degraded throughout the 
core of its range, and habitat reduction or modification continues to 
be a significant factor endangering the species. The giant ibis is a 
waterbird that seeks out permanent sources of water, and the impacts 
from habitat destruction and alteration are exacerbated by its aversion 
to human disturbance. Dam construction has contributed to habitat 
alteration on a regional scale along waterways within the Mekong River 
Delta (a vital water source throughout the species' core range) and 
contributes to unpredictable water fluctuations and changes in human 
activity along the waterways. The effects of flooding are exacerbated 
by extensive cultivation during the dry season and the impacts from 
fishing communities along the delta. Habitat loss through wetland 
drainage for agricultural purposes has reduced foraging and roosting 
areas. Logging has been reported in giant ibis territory in each range 
country, and deforestation reduces the number of trees available to the 
species as nesting sites. Expansion of human settlements and conversion 
of wetland areas to agriculture continue throughout the species' known 
range. The encroachment of nesting sites and foraging areas is 
compounded by human disturbance and may disproportionately promote 
fragmentation of remaining individuals. Based on the above information, 
we find that the present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the giant ibis' habitat or range is a significant on-
going and future risk to the species.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    (1) Overutilization within the region: The giant ibis is 
susceptible to hunting for consumption and disturbance caused by 
hunting other species throughout its range (Bird et al. 2006; 
http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; T. Clements in litt. December 2007; 

Desai & Luthy 1996; Eames et al. 2004; Poole 2002; WCS 2007a, 2007b, 
2007c). There have been reports of severe hunting pressures on large 
mammals and waterbirds, including giant the ibis, throughout the 
species' range (ADB 2005; T. Clements in litt. December 2007; Desai & 
Luthy 1996; Poole 2002; United Nations Environment Programme-Strategic 
Environment Framework (UNEP-SEF) 2005; WCS 2007a, 2007b, 2007c). In 
2005, the United Nations Environment Programme-Strategic Environment 
Framework (UNEP-SEF 2005) reviewed major threats to biodiversity, 
including giant ibis, within the Greater Mekong Sub-region (including 
Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam). They found that, 
after habitat loss, the second greatest threat to endangered wildlife 
in the region was hunting and gathering. Giant ibises are particularly 
vulnerable to hunting during the dry season, when they seek out 
permanent water sources and are more likely to encounter people seeking 
out these same water resources (BLI 2007h).
    Given the species' small estimated global population size (a 
minimum of 100 pairs, but no more than 250 total individuals (Clements 
et al. 2007)), any hunting would be detrimental to the species' 
continued existence. Highly sensitive to human disturbance, giant 
ibises are negatively affected by disturbance from hunting-related 
activities, even when they are not directly targeted (T. Clements in 
litt. December 2007).
    (2) Overutilization within individual range countries:
    Cambodia: Cambodia is the core of the species' range, where the 
total Cambodian giant ibis population is estimated to be 82 to 100 
pairs (Clements et al. 2007). Subsistence hunting is a challenge to 
wildlife protection in Cambodia, where the average annual income is 
US$268 and ``95 percent of the country lives from tree cutting and 
wildlife hunting'' (WildAid 2002, p. 1). According to Clements (in 
litt. December 2007), in surveys conducted over the past eight years, 
there have been occasional reports of giant ibis being hunted for 
personal or commercial use in Cambodia, but ``it [giant ibis] appears 
to have little value wildlife trade.'' In the past 5 years, Clements 
(in litt. December 2007) is aware of two instances of giant ibis 
hunting, both for personal consumption. In addition, locals poison 
waterholes, using commonly available herbicides, fertilizers, or 
insecticides, to hunt fish and sometimes to poison large waterbirds for 
consumption (T. Clements in litt. December 2007).
    Poole (2002) noted that bird species in Cambodia are generally 
susceptible to indiscriminate hunting and egg collection. A 1996 
wildlife survey of three sites within Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri 
Provinces, where Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary is located and wherein the 
giant ibises have been observed, revealed that hunting was extensive 
and intense (Desai & Vuthy 1996). The Wildlife Conservation Society 
reported hunting as the single largest threat to wildlife in the 
Northern Plains (WCS 2007a). Subsistence and commercial hunting of a 
variety of animals has been reported in within the SBCA as recently as 
February 2006 (Bird et al. 2006; WCS 2007b), and collection of eggs and 
chicks from nests threaten large waterbirds in the Tonle Sap floodplain 
(Clements et al. 2007; WCS 2007a, 2007b, 2007c). See also Factor D.
    Lao PDR: BirdLife International (2006a) reports that hunting in Lao 
PDR has severely impacted most large waterbirds. While we have no 
information that the giant ibis is specifically targeted, this practice 
would severely threaten the species in Lao PDR, where the giant ibis 
population is unlikely to exceed 5 to 10 pairs (Clements et al. 2007).
    Vietnam: Large mammals and waterbirds are particularly vulnerable 
to hunting within Yok Don National Park, the only location within 
Vietnam where giant ibis has been observed (Eames et al. 2004), and 
wildlife hunting continued to be a problem within the Yok Don National 
Park in 2005 (Eames et al. 2005) (see also Factor D). The U.S. 
Department of State (DOS) reported that Vietnam's wildlife, including 
endangered birds, is threatened by illegal export to China (DOS Cable 
2007). However, we have no specific information that the giant ibis is 
part of such trade. The species is not known to be in international 
trade and has not been formally considered for listing under CITES 

Summary of Factor B

    Indiscriminate hunting threatens giant ibis throughout its range. 
Giant ibises are especially accessible and more vulnerable to hunting 
at the height of the dry season when they are concentrated around 
available waterholes. The species' aversion to human disturbance makes 
it more vulnerable to disruption from hunting-related activities. Given 
their small population numbers (estimated to be

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100 pairs at minimum, but no more than 250 individuals) and the 
apparent inadequacies in enforcement (Factor D), we consider incidental 
killing from hunting and hunting disturbances to be factors that 
threaten this species throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    According to the Deputy Director of the Wildlife Protection Office 
in Cambodia (C. Dany in litt. January 2007), highly pathogenic avian 
influenza (HPAI) H5N1 continues to be a serious problem. This strain of 
avian influenza first appeared in Asia in 1996 and spread from country 
to country with rapid succession (Peterson et al. 2007). By 2006, the 
virus was detected across most of Europe and in several African 
countries. Influenza A viruses, to which group strain H5N1 belongs, 
infect domestic animals and humans, but wildfowl and shorebirds are 
considered the primary source of this virus in nature (Olsen et al. 
2006), particularly wild birds of wetland and aquatic environments 
(Peterson et al. 2007). Although the Wildlife Protection Office noted 
that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service were helping train field staff on surveillance 
techniques, Cambodia lacks an avian influenza wild bird surveillance 
program (C. Dany in litt. January 2007). According to Dany (in litt. 
January, November 2007), scientists are not sure how many wild bird 
species carry or are infected by AI, and it is possible that giant ibis 
may be a carrier. However, a comprehensive study has not yet been 
undertaken. Lack of an avian influenza wild bird surveillance program 
in Cambodia will make it difficult to resolve whether giant ibis is a 
    Until recently, there was no information on predation affecting the 
giant ibis, and there is still very little known about giant ibis 
breeding ecology and dispersal (T. Clements in litt. December 2007). 
However, recent research suggests that predation impacts the largest 
known concentration of giant ibises in Cambodia's Northern Plains 
(estimated to be 30 to 40 pairs of birds), representing between one-
third to one-fourth of the total known population (Clements et al. 
2007). Nesting surveys were conducted between 2004 and 2007, and the 
giant ibis' fledging success was estimated at 50 percent. Researchers 
determined that predation had negatively impacted the giant ibis' 
fledging success. Predation by crows (Corvus macrorhynchos), macaques 
(Macaca sp.), hawks (species unknown), civets (Cynogale sp), and 
martins (species unknown) was identified as a major contributor to the 
species' low fledging success (Clements et al. 2007). Given the 
species' small global population size and that the Northern Plains 
species may represent up to one-fourth of the known giant ibis 
population, we consider this level of predation to be a significant 
factor that threatens the species' continued existence.

Summary of Factor C

    While the avian flu may be a threat to giant ibises, there is no 
evidence that known populations are currently infected. Potential for 
disease outbreaks warrants monitoring (see Factor D) and may become a 
more significant threat factor in the future. However, we find that 
disease is not a risk to the giant ibis at this time.
    Predation by crows, macaques, hawks, civets, and martins threatens 
the largest known concentration of giant ibises and contributes to the 
species' low fledging success (estimated to be only 50 percent). Given 
the risks associated with small population sizes, further reductions in 
population numbers jeopardizes the species' viability and resiliency to 
adapt to changing conditions (see Factor E). We consider predation to 
be a factor that endangers the species.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    (1) Regional regulatory mechanisms:
    The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was formed between the 
governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam in 1995 as part 
of The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of 
the Mekong River Basin. The signatories agreed to jointly manage their 
shared water resources and economic development of the river (MRC 
2007). In 2003, the governments of Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, 
Thailand, and Vietnam committed to cooperate on developing a regional 
power grid (via hydroelectric dams), among other things, under the 
Asian Development Bank's Greater Mekong Subregion Program 
(International Rivers Network. 2004). However, according to the 
International Rivers Network (2004), the master plan to create the 
regional power grid did not thoroughly assess the impacts to 
communities, fisheries, Forests or nature reserves. The cooperative 
efforts have had little impact on the dams being built in the Mekong 
River Region or on broader decision-making processes within the Region 
(CRES 2001). According to the Asian Development Bank, 13 dams have been 
built, are being built, or are proposed to be built along the Mekong 
River Subregion (ADB 2005). The continued modification of giant ibis 
habitat has been identified as a primary threat to this species (Factor 
A), and this regional regulatory mechanism is not effective at reducing 
that threat.
    (2) Regulatory mechanisms within individual range countries:
    Cambodia: Several laws exist in Cambodia to protect the giant ibis 
from two of the primary threats to the species, habitat destruction 
(Factor A) and hunting (Factor B). However, they are ineffective at 
reducing those threats. In Cambodia, Declaration No. 359, issued by the 
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1994, prohibited the 
hunting of giant ibis. However, reports of severe hunting pressure 
within the giant ibis' habitat and illegal poaching of wildlife in 
Cambodia continue (Bird et al. 2006; Desai & Luthy 1996; FFI 2000; 
Poole 2002; UNEP-SEF 2005; WCS 2007a, 2007b, 2007c).
    Joint Declaration No. 1563, On the Suppression of Wildlife 
Destruction in the Kingdom of Cambodia, was issued by the Ministry of 
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1996. However, JICA (1999) 
reported that this regulatory measure was ineffectively enforced. In 
2000, survey work conducted by Fauna and Flora International in 
collaboration with the Government of Cambodia, Ministry of Environment 
and Wildlife Protection Office, found evidence of illegal hunting of a 
variety of animals and noted a flagrant disregard for the illegality of 
this activity: ``Hunters and dealers freely displayed the illegal 
materials and readily provided any details requested,'' indicating a 
lack of wildlife laws awareness or inadequate law enforcement (FFI 
    The Forestry Law of 2002 strictly prohibited hunting, harming, or 
harassing wildlife (Article 49) (Law on Forestry 2003). This law 
further prohibited the possession, trapping, transport, or trade in 
rare and endangered wildlife (Article 49). As of 2007, Dany (in litt. 
January 2007) noted that the species had been proposed as endangered in 
the draft wildlife list in Cambodia, the highest protected species 
category by Forestry Law 2002 (Law on Forestry 2003). However, to our 
knowledge, Cambodia has not yet published a list of endangered or rare 
species. Thus, this law is not currently effective at protecting the 
giant ibis from threats by hunting (Factor B).
    The Creation and Designation of Protected Areas regulation 
(November 1993) established a national system of protected areas. In 
1994, through Declaration No. 1033 on the Protection

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of Natural Areas, the following activities were banned in all protected 
areas: (1) Construction of saw mills, charcoal ovens, brick kilns, tile 
kilns, limestone ovens, tobacco ovens; (2) hunting or placement of 
traps for tusks, bones, feathers, horns, leather, or blood; (3) 
deforestation; (4) mining minerals or use of explosives; (5) use of 
domestic animals, such as dogs; (6) dumping of pollutants; (7) the use 
of machines or heavy cars which may cause smoke pollution; (8) noise 
pollution; and (9) unpermitted research and experiments. In addition, 
the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management of 
1996 (Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management 
1996) sets forth general provisions for environmental protection. Under 
Article 8 of this law, Cambodia declares that its natural resources 
(including wildlife) shall be conserved, developed, and managed and 
used in a rational and sustainable manner. Several protected areas have 
been established within the range of the giant ibis, including the 
Tonle Sap Great Lake Protected Area, Seima Biodiversity Conservation 
Area, and Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
    The Tonle Sap Great Lake protected area was designated a Multiple 
Use Management Area in 1993 through the Creation and Designation of 
Protected Areas Decree (Creation and Designation of Protected Areas 
1993). Under this decree, Multiple Use Management Areas are those areas 
which provide for the sustainable use of water resources, timber, 
wildlife, fish, pasture and recreation with the conservation of nature 
primarily oriented to support these economic activities. In 1997, the 
Tonle Sap region was designated a UNESCO ``Man and Biosphere'' site. To 
echo the United Nations designation, the Cambodian government developed 
a National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) in 1997, supporting the 
UNESCO site goals. Among the priority areas of intervention are 
fisheries and floodplain agriculture at Tonle Sap Lake, biodiversity 
and protected areas, and environmental education. NEAP was followed by 
the adoption of the Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of 
Tonle Sap (SAPPTS) in February 1998, and the issuance of a Royal Decree 
officially making Tonle Sap Lake a Biosphere Reserve on April 10, 2001 
(Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Secretariat 2007). In 2006, the Cambodian 
government created Integrated Farming and Biodiversity Areas (IFBA), 
including 115 mi2 (300 km2) near Tonle Sap Lake, 
to protect the distinctive flora in that region (WWF 2006a). The above 
measures have focused attention on the conservation situation at Tonle 
Sap and have begun to improve the conservation situation there, but 
several management challenges remain, including overexploitation of 
flooded forests and fisheries; negative impacts from invasive species; 
lack of monitoring and enforcement; low level of public awareness of 
biodiversity values; and uncoordinated research, monitoring, and 
evaluation of species' populations (Matsui et al. 2006; Tonle Sap 
Biosphere Reserve Secretariat 2007).
    The Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area was established through 
Declaration 260.12-08-2002 (On the Establishment of Seima Biodiversity 
Conservation Area in Samling Forest Concession in Mondul Kiri and 
Kratie Provinces). However, threats at this site remain. Lack of clear 
land and resource tenure within the buffer zone of Seima Biodiversity 
Conservation Area (SBCA) (Kratie and Mondulkiri Province), where giant 
ibises were observed in 2006 (Bird et al. 2006), has resulted in 
influxes of squatters interested in claiming, cutting, or clearing the 
land (WCS 2007b). In early 2006, during surveys of the Seima 
Biodiversity Conservation Area (SBCA), where giant ibis is located, 
researchers encountered hunters ``with no law enforcement in 
operation'' (Bird et al. 2006, p. v).
    The Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, where the giant ibis is also found, 
was established in 1993 through the Creation and Designation of 
Protected Areas Decree (Creation and Designation of Protected Areas 
1993) and is considered to be one of the most important areas for 
wildlife in Cambodia (WildAid 2005). Under this decree wildlife 
sanctuaries are considered natural areas where nationally significant 
species of flora and fauna, natural communities, or physical features 
require specific intervention for their perpetuation (Creation and 
Designation of Protected Areas 1993). In 2003 and 2004, the Service's 
Rhino and Tiger Conservation Fund supported the Lomphat Conservation 
Project (LCP), which has a long-term goal of assisting rangers and 
field staff in the conservation of the Sanctuary's living resources, 
including giant ibis. Six teams of rangers were trained during the 
duration of the LCP, and the Sanctuary began instituting patrols on at 
least 15 days per month. The rangers have been extremely efficient in 
locating poachers, illegal loggers, and entire camps set aside for 
poachers. Educational materials were developed and tailored to the 
villagers' patterns of use of the local resources (WildAid 2003), and 
villagers have demonstrated a keen interest in offering information to 
protect their resources and assist the rangers. Extensive public 
outreach has improved conservation awareness throughout the Sanctuary 
and around its borders (WildAid 2005). Project leaders for the Lomphat 
Conservation Project indicated that great strides have been made in 
training rangers and combating poaching, although community outreach 
required more effort (WildAid 2005). In 2005, the giant ibis was 
declared the national symbolic bird in Cambodia (C. Dany in litt. 
January 2007), which may help to raise public awareness as to the need 
to conserve the species and its habitat.
    Giant ibis habitat within Cambodian protected areas faces several 
challenges. The legal framework governing wetlands management is 
institutionally complex, resting upon legislation vested in government 
agencies responsible for resource use (Fishery Law 1987), land use 
planning (Land Law 2001), and environmental conservation (Environmental 
Law 1996, Royal Decree on the Designation and Creation of National 
Protected Areas System 1993) (Bonheur et al. 2005). Furthermore, the 
country's wildlife protection office lacks the staff, technical ability 
and monetary support to conduct systematic surveys on the giant ibis 
(C. Dany in litt. January 2007). This, in turn, leads to ineffective 
monitoring and enforcement, and, consequently, resource use goes 
largely unregulated (Bonheur et al. 2005). Thus, the protected areas 
system in Cambodia is ineffective in removing or reducing the threats 
of habitat modification (Factor A) and hunting (Factor B) faced by the 
giant ibis.
    Lao PDR: Giant ibis is legally protected in Lao PDR (Eames et al. 
2004). In Lao PDR, the giant ibis is found in one protected area, the 
Xe Pian National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA). Regulation No. 
0524/MAF.2001, on NBCAs and wildlife management, was issued by the 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on June 7, 2001 (Robichaud et al. 
2001). This regulation is a comprehensive code of wildlife protection. 
Penalties for violation of the existing decrees and instructions are 
outlined in the Penal Code of the Lao PDR (October 23, 1989) and 
refined in the Instructions for the Implementation of Decree No. 118 
and in the Forestry Law of 1996.
    Xe Pian NBCA was established in 1993 as part of the system of 
National Protected Areas. Long-term biodiversity conservation is the 
primary objective of NBCAs, according to PM Decree 164 and the 1996 
Forestry Law. While the establishment of this protected area represents 
a positive step toward

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conserving habitat in Xe Pian, the protection afforded giant ibis in 
the Xe Pian NBCA is marginal to ineffective due to confusion over 
management authority and lack of enforcement (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c, 

2001d; Rauchibauld et al. 2001). Furthermore, the existence of an NBCA 
does not rule out construction of hydroelectric dams, or commercial 
activities such as logging (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001d), identified as 

threats to this species (Factor A).
    Thailand: The species is currently considered extirpated from 
Thailand. However, giant ibis is protected by the Wildlife Animal 
Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) (B.E. 2535 1992; Eames et al. 
2004). Under WARPA, hunting is prohibited (section 16), as is 
possession of carcasses (section 19), trade (section 20), and 
collection, harm or possession of nests (section 21). Violations of 
sections 16, 19, or 20 of WARPS may result in imprisonment not 
exceeding four years or fines nor exceeding 40,000 baht (Thai dollars), 
or both. Violations of section 21 of WARPA may result in imprisonment 
not exceeding one year or fines not exceeding 6,000 baht. This 
protection may help to remove the threat of hunting, which affect the 

species throughout its existing current range (Factor B), but does 
nothing to remove or reduce the threat to habitat reduction (Factor A), 
which was attributed as the primary cause for the species' extinction 
in Thailand (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b; Matheu & del Hoyo 1992).

    Vietnam: Decree No. 32/2006/ND-CP of March 30, 2006, on Management 
of Endangered, Precious, and Rare Forest Plants and Animals, 
establishes a list of endangered species and protections afforded to 
those species (Decree No. 32 2006). However, the giant ibis is not on 
that list (Official Dispatch No. 3399 2002) and therefore is not 
afforded any legal protection under this Decree.
    Vietnam banned hunting without a permit in 1975 (Zeller 2006). 
However, the Department of State (DOS Cable 2007) reports that 
Vietnam's wildlife, including birds, continues to be susceptible to 
domestic consumption.
    Yok Don National Park was established by Decree in 2002 
(International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) 2003). Under 
Vietnam's Law on Forest Protection and Development of 2004 (No. 25 
2004), National Parks are considered special use forests, which are 
used mainly for conservation of nature, preservation of national forest 
ecosystems, and biological gene resources; scientific research; 
protection of historical and cultural relics as well as landscapes; in 
service of recreation and tourism. The Law on Forest Protection and 
Development prohibits, among other things: (1) Unpermitted logging; (2) 
unpermitted hunting, shooting, capture, caging, or slaughter of forest 
animals; (3) illegally destroying forest resources or ecosystems; (4) 
violating regulation on forest fire prevention; (5) violating 
regulations on prevention and elimination of organisms harmful to 
forests; (6) illegal encroachment; (7) illegal possession, transport, 
or trade in forest plants and animals; (8) illegally grazing cattle in 
strictly-protected zones of special use forests; (9) illegally exerting 
adverse impacts on wildlife; and (10) illegally bringing toxic 
chemicals or explosives into forests (Article 12). However, the Yok Don 
National Park apparently lacks specific regulations governing 
activities within the Park (Eames et al. 2004), and it is unclear what 
tangible protections, if any, are afforded the species in this area. 
Furthermore, there are continued external threats to the biological 
resources in the park (e.g., the proposed Ea Tung dam) (ICEM 2003) 
(Factor A) and hunting (Factor B). Eames et al. (2005) reported that 
hunting was a problem for wildlife within the Yok Don National Park. 
Thus, the measures in place are ineffective at reducing the threats to 
this species.

Summary of Factor D

    Existing regulatory mechanisms throughout the giant ibis' range are 
ineffective at reducing or removing threats directed at the species, 
including habitat modification (Factor A) and hunting (Factor B). We 
believe that the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, especially with 
regard to lack of law enforcement and habitat protection, is a 
contributory risk factor for the giant ibis.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    Other factors which affect the giant ibis' continued existence are: 
its small population size and environmental toxins.
    Small population size: Small, isolated populations of wildlife 
species are susceptible to demographic shifts and genetic problems 
(Shaffer 1981). These threat factors, which may act in concert, include 
natural variation in survival and reproductive success of individuals, 
chance disequilibrium of sex ratios, changes in gene frequencies due to 
genetic drift, and diminished genetic diversity and associated effects 
due to inbreeding. Demographic problems may include reduced 
reproductive success of individuals and chance disequilibrium of sex 
    We are unaware of any genetic studies for the giant ibis. However, 
threats to near- and long-term genetic viability can be estimated. In 
the absence of more species-specific life history data, the 50/500 rule 
(as explained under Factor E for the black stilt) (Soul[eacute] 1980; 
Hunter 1996) may be used to approximate minimum viable population 
sizes, as described under Factor E for the black stilt. The available 
information indicates that the largest concentration of giant ibis 
consists of 30 to 40 pairs (Clements et al. 2007). This would equate to 
60 to 80 individuals, which just meets the minimum effective population 
size (Ne = 50 individuals) required to avoid risks from 
inbreeding. The current maximum estimate of no more than 250 
individuals for the entire population (Clements et al. 2007) is only 
half of the upper threshold (Ne = 500) required for long-
term fitness of a population that will not lose its genetic diversity 
over time and that will maintain an enhanced capacity to adapt to 
changing conditions. As such, we currently consider the species to be 
at risk of long-term genetic viability and associated demographic 
    Environmental toxins: Environmental toxins likely pose a threat to 
the giant ibis, given its foraging habit and diet. Agent Orange was one 
of the primary defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam War (Westing 
2002). One of the formulations (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin 
(TCDD)) released dioxin as a byproduct as it broke down. Dioxin is a 
known human carcinogen. Studies conducted following the war through the 
mid-1990s found that residents of southern Vietnam contained extremely 
high levels of dioxin found in fluid or tissue samples, including 
mother's milk and food fish. Sediment studies in the 1980s indicated 
that dioxin can move through soil into lakes or rivers, where it 
attaches to organic material in the sediment. In 1995, tissue sample 
studies revealed that even residents in areas that were not sprayed by 
Agent Orange (in northern Vietnam) contained low levels of TCDD 
contamination. In 2001, high levels of dioxin were still being detected 
in residents in southern Vietnam 30 years after TCDD was sprayed. 
Residents born subsequent to spraying and newly arrived residents had 
similarly high levels of dioxin in their systems. The authors concluded 
that it is highly probable that current dioxin contamination detected 
in humans is the result of past and current exposure to dioxin that has 
moved from the soil into river sediments, into fish,

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and subsequently into people from fish consumption (Schechter et al. 
2001). The giant ibis forages in mud flats, probing the mud with their 
bills. With evidence that dioxin contamination in soils persists more 
than 30 years after the Vietnam War, it is likely that the giant ibis 
is being exposed to this contaminant.
    According to Gatehouse (2004), when fish, birds, or mammals are 
exposed from conception through postnatal or post hatching stages, 
dioxins may disrupt development of several major organ systems 
(including the endocrine, reproductive, immune and nervous systems). 
Dioxins are potent developmental toxicants even at low concentrations, 
and effects of dioxin poisoning in birds include poor breeding success, 
embryo lethality, and developmental deformities (Gatehouse 2004). 
Although we are unaware of any studies of the effect of environmental 
contaminants on the giant ibis, this may be a factor in the species' 
low fledging success (estimated to be 50 percent (Clements et al. 
    Birds may be exposed to dioxins in their food or by foraging in 
contaminated soil (Gatehouse 2004). Animals vary in their sensitivity 
to dioxin (Karchner et al. 2006) and levels of contamination vary 
relative to their trophic level (position in the food chain) (Gatehouse 
2004). Giant ibis consumes primarily invertebrates, small reptiles, and 
amphibians (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001b, 2007h; Davidson et al. 2002). 

According to Gatehouse (2004), other bird species at this mid-trophic 
level accumulate dioxin contamination at a low to midrange (where birds 
of prey have the highest levels of contamination). Dioxin poisoning is 
known to affect reptiles, resulting in development abnormalities 
(Shirose et al. 1995). Residual contamination in the tissues of prey 
species may remain long after contaminant concentrations are reduced 
(Gatehouse 2004). Given that giant ibis is a mid-trophic level species, 
which are known to accumulate dioxin at low-to mid-range levels, and 
that reptiles, a food source for giant ibis, are known to retain 
residual dioxin within their tissues, it is likely that the giant ibis 
is being exposed to dioxin through its prey species as well.

Summary of Factor E

    The giant ibis' small population, estimated to be at least 100 
pairs, but no more than 250 total individuals, poses a risk to the 
species throughout its range with regard to lack of near-term long-term 
genetic viability and to potential demographic shifts. We consider the 
species' extremely small population size and associated lack of genetic 
viability and threats of demographic shifts to be significant risks to 
the giant ibis throughout its range.
    Dioxin contamination likely poses a threat to the giant ibis, given 
its foraging habits of eating along mud flats and probing the mud with 
its bill and the fact that dioxin contamination remains in the soil 
more than 30 years later. Diet may also expose giant ibises to dioxin 
accumulated in the tissue of prey species. Although we believe that 
dioxin contamination could be a factor contributing to the decline of 
the giant ibis, there has been no direct research into the effects of 
dioxin on giant ibis. As such, insufficient information precludes our 
ability to determine whether dioxin contamination endangers the 

Conclusion and Determination for the Giant ibis

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the giant ibis. We have determined that the 
species is in danger of extinction throughout all of its known range 
primarily due to ongoing threats to its habitat (Factor A), unregulated 
hunting (Factor B), and genetic and demographic risks associated with 
the species' small population size and habitat fragmentation (Factor 
E). Predation threatens the largest known concentration of giant ibis 
in the Northern Plains of Cambodia (Factor C). Furthermore, we have 
determined that the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms to reduce or 
remove these threats is a contributory factor to the risks that 
endanger this species' continued existence (Factor D). Therefore, we 
are determining endangered status for the giant ibis under the Act. 
Because we find that the giant ibis is endangered throughout all of its 
range, there is no reason to consider its status in any significant 
portion of its range.

IV. Gurney's pitta (Pitta gurneyi)

Species Description

    The Gurney's pitta is a member of the Pittidae family and is native 
to Myanmar and Thailand. The species is also known commonly as the 
black-breasted pitta (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c) and the jewel-thrush 

(BLI-IP & Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) 
Darwin Project Office 2004). Adults are between 7 and 8 in (18 and 20 
cm) tall. The male has a blue crown and a turquoise-tinged tail. Black 
plumage covers the breast, with brown on the upper side, and black and 
yellow bands along the sides of the underbelly. The female has a brown 
crown and paler light-brown and buff (or black and yellow) banding on 
the underparts. The juvenile is draped in brown plumage on the crown, 
nape, and breast, with pale streaks on the upper belly and white 
speckles on the wings (BLI 2007g; Gould 1969; Thailand Scientific 
Authority 1990).


    Gurney's pitta, in the family Pittidae, was described by Hume as 
Pitta gurneyi in 1875 (BLI 2005) from a specimen obtained in Myanmar.

Habitat and Life History

    This species' habitat requirements of this species were poorly 
understood until surveys were conducted in the 1980s (see Population 
Estimates, below). Gurney's pitta inhabits lowland, semi-evergreen 
secondary rainforest, at elevations from 260 to 460 ft (80 to 140 m). 
They are especially found at elevations less than 328 ft (100 m), in 
areas with little to no undergrowth (BLI 2000b, 2001c; Gould 1969). 
Access to permanent sources of water is a central feature of Gurney's 
pitta habitat, such that populations are often located near gully 
systems where moist conditions remain year-round (BLI 2000b, 2001c).
    Gurney's pitta has been described as a ``relatively silent 
species'' (Rose 2003, p. 142); although more audible during mating 
season, and the species occurs more often in the mornings and evenings 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Gould 1969). The species rarely ventures 

into open areas (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c) and does not live in groups 

(Thai Society for the Conservation of Wild Animals (TSCWA) no date 
(n.d.)). A terrestrial bird, Gurney's pitta hops around the forest 
floor on its strong hind legs to forage on insects, snails, and 
especially earthworms (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Kekule 2005; TSCWA 

    Apparently monogamous (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c), the species 

breeds during the monsoon season from April to October (http://www.rdb.or.id; 

BLI 2001c, 2007g). Dome-shaped nests with a single opening are built 
approximately 3.3 to 8.2 ft (1 to 2.5 m) off the ground in spiny 
understory palms, including rakum (Salacca rumphii or Salacca 
wallichiana), rattan (Daemonorops or Calamu longisetus), and licuala 
palms (Licuala spp.) (BLI 2001c, 2003b; Kekule 2005; Rose 2003; TSCWA 
n.d.). Eggs are cream-colored with brown flecks, the typical clutch 
size is 3 to 4, and eggs are incubated by both males and females for as 
few as 10 and up to 20 days

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(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Rose 2003; TSCWA n.d.). In captivity, pairs 

nested twice in 1 year (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c). Gurney's pitta 

apparently has a low rate of breeding success, with an average 
production of one (Lambert 1996 as cited in BLI 2001c), two, or, at 
most, three chicks (Kekule 2005) fledged per clutch. In the only nest 
monitoring study, three giant ibis nests achieved an overall fledging 
rate of 27.3 percent (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Rose 2003). Thus, the 

species has low fledging success.

Historical Range and Distribution

    Gurney's pitta is native to Myanmar and Thailand, and the species 
was historically observed throughout the Thai-Malay peninsula 
(peninsular Thailand and adjacent southern Myanmar) (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 

2001c, 2007g). The species has been characterized as formerly common 
across much of this range (BLI 2000b; Kekule 2005). However, BirdLife 
International (2001c) pointed out that the Gurney's pitta will not be 
found in absence of its preferred habitat and characterized the species 
as locally abundant within its preferred habitat (lowland, semi-
evergreen secondary rainforest in areas with little-to-no undergrowth) 
(BLI 2000b, 2001c; Gould 1969).
    A comparison of the confirmed observations of Gurney's pitta 
maintained by BirdLife International (2001c) since the species was 
first described reveals that there have often been large gaps in 
observations in the past. In Myanmar, the species was not observed for 
the nearly 30-year period between 1877 and 1904, and went unobserved 
again in Myanmar between 1914 and 2003. In Thailand, the species was 
historically observed with greater frequency (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 

2001c). However, there were long periods during which the species was 
not observed in Thailand, including a 50-year period, from 1936 to 
1986, during which there was only one confirmed observation of the 
species in 1952. Gould noted in 1969 that the species ``moves about 
quite a lot'' (Gould 1969, p. 154), which may be a reference to the 
species' ``disappearance'' and ``reappearance'' across its range (see 
also Population Estimates, below).
    These occurrence records are likely incomplete for several reasons 
other than the species' rarity, including: (1) The relative silence of 
the species, making it difficult to detect when surveying suitable 
habitat (for instance, Rose (2003) noted that during a 39-hour period 
observing one nest, only nine calls were heard); (2) long periods of 
war within the region (Kekule 2005) (for instance, Thailand was 
involved in or affected by war from 1965-1988); (3) the inaccessible 
habitat and danger from landmines (in Myanmar, for example (Kekule 
2005)); and (4) government regulations restricting access to 
researchers (Kekule 2005, regarding Myanmar). For these reasons, 
experts caution against claims of extinction until thorough surveys 
have been completed (Butchart et al., 2006).
    The distribution of Gurney's pitta appears to have steadily 
contracted in a southerly direction (BLI 2001c). Prior to 1950, the 
species was observed in several locations within Myanmar's Tanintharyi 
Division (referred to historically as ``Tenasserim'') and in the 
central (Prachuap Khiri Khan) and southern (Chumphon, Ranong, 
Nakhonsrithammarat, Phuket, Phatthatumg, and Trang) Provinces of 
Thailand. Between 1950 and 1979, the species was only observed once, in 
the southernmost Province of Thailand's central region, Prachuap Khiri 
Khan. Between 1980 and 2000, the species was observed only in southern 
peninsular Thailand (in Phangnga, Krabi, and Suratthani Provinces) 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c). Until its rediscovery in Myanmar in 2003, 

the species was believed to have a range limited to a 20 mi2 
(50 km2) area in Thailand (BLI 2000b). Experts believe that 
steady habitat loss since the 1920s has been a main driver in the 
species' historical decline (BLI 2000b, 2001c; Rose 2003).

Current Range and Distribution

    BirdLife International (2000b) estimated the range of Gurney's 
pitta to be 942 mi\2\ (2,440 km\2\ ). However, range estimates are 
based on the ``Extent of Occurrence'' for the species, which is defined 
by the authors as ``the area contained within the shortest continuous 
imaginary boundary which can be drawn to encompass all the known, 
inferred, or projected sites of present occurrence of a species, 
excluding cases of vagrancy'' (BLI 2000b, p. 22). Therefore, this 
estimate likely includes areas that are unsuitable for the pitta, such 
that its range is probably smaller than this estimate.
    Today, the Gurney's pitta is found in two areas, one within each 
range country. Details for each range country will be discussed below, 
starting with Thailand, because much of what we know about the Gurney's 
pitta is based on this population.
    Thailand: In Thailand, Gurney's pitta was rediscovered in 1986 in 
at least five localities within its historical range, including 
Prachuap Khiri Khan, Suratthani, Phangnga, Krabi, and Trang Provinces. 
Although two territories may still exist in Trang Province (in an area 
called Tambon Aw Tong) (Rose 2003), the only remaining viable 
population occupies a 2-mi\2\ (5.2-km\2\) area in Krabi Province, near 
Mount Khao Nur Chuchi (BLI 2007g; Round & Gretton 1989). Its range is 
described as extremely small and declining (Rose 2003).
    The Mt. Khao Nur Chuchi area may be referred to by any of several 
names, including Khao Nur Chuchi Reserve, Khlong Pra-Bang Khram Non-
Hunting Area, Khlong Pra-Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary (Rose 2003, 
Kekule 2005), and Kao Phra Bang Khram Forest Reserve, which describes 
an area adjacent to the wildlife sanctuary (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; 

TSCWA n.d.). Following the rediscovery of Gurney's pitta near Mt. Khao 
Nor Chuchi in 1986, a non-hunting area was established in 1987. This 
area was upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary in 1993; however, crucial 
areas of pitta habitat were not included in the sanctuary 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Round 1999). Rather, the remaining 

territories remain part of the Kao Phra Bang Khram Forest Reserve (see 
Factors A and D). Hereafter, this population will be referred to as the 
Khao Nur Chuchi population.
    Myanmar: In Myanmar, Gurney's pitta was rediscovered in 2003 at 
four sites in the Ngawun Reserve Forest, within its historic range of 
Tanintharyi Division, in southern Myanmar. All sightings were within 
1.2 mi (2 km) of the trans-Tanintharyi highway and within the 193 mi\2\ 
(500 km\2\) Ngawun Forest Reserve (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 
2004). The species also apparently occurs in neighboring Lenya forest, 
site of the proposed Lenya National Park, also in Tanintharyi Division 
(BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 2006).
    Researchers believe that Myanmar has the largest remaining suitable 
habitat for the species (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 2004; 
Eames et al. 2005). In 2004, using satellite imagery, the remaining 
habitat available to the pitta was estimated to be 1,349 mi\2\ (3,496 
km\2\). Most of this habitat is fragmented, but the five largest 
patches total an area of 553 mi\2\ (1,431 km\2\) and range in size from 
53 to 180 mi\2\ (137 to 467 km\2\) (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project 
Office 2004), significantly larger than the entire estimated range of 
the Gurney's pitta (of 20 mi\2\ (50 km\2\)) prior to its rediscovery in 
Myanmar (Eames et al. 2005). As of 2005, experts also believed that 
suitable habitat existed in a neighboring Lenya forest to support 
Gurney's pitta (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 2006; Eames et al. 

[[Page 3168]]

Population Estimates

    Population estimates are provided for the global population of 
Gurney's pitta, as well as for each range country. Thailand is 
discussed before Myanmar, as most information on Gurney's pitta is 
based on the population in Thailand, which was the only known 
population of Gurney's pitta until 2003 when it was rediscovered in 
    Global population estimate: The relative silence of this species 
has made it difficult to census (David Olson, Irvine Ranch Land Reserve 
Trust, in litt. February 2007; Rose 2003). Until the recent rediscovery 
of Gurney's pitta in Myanmar in 2003 (BLI 2003b), the global population 
estimate for Gurney's pitta was based solely on the Thai population, 
which stood between 24 and 30 individuals (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; 

Rose 2003). With the discovery of the Myanmar population, the global 
population may be between 175 to 185 individuals. The IUCN has not 
undertaken a formal re-evaluation of the global population of Gurney's 
pitta since its rediscovery in Myanmar.
    Thailand: The Khao Nur Chuchi population is considered the last 
remaining viable population in Thailand (Round & Gretton 1989). 
Censuses undertaken following its rediscovery in the late 1980s aimed 
to identify additional localities and the number of individuals extant 
within the area. The species reportedly declined from 44 to 45 pairs in 
1986 (BLI 2000b) to 17 pairs in 1987 (Rose 2003) and to 9 pairs in 1997 
(BLI 2000b) and then increased to 11 breeding pairs in 2000 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c). As of 2003, the population stood between 24 

and 30 individuals (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Rose 2003).

    Myanmar: BirdLife International--Indochina Program has been 
conducting site surveys on the rediscovered populations within the 
Ngawun Forest Reserve (BLI 2003b). In 2003, at least 10 to 12 pairs 
were observed (BLI 2003b; Eames et al. 2005). In 2004, researchers 
determined that the Myanmar population was sizable, having made 
approximately 150 pitta sightings (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 
    Extrapolating on the availability of suitable habitat, researchers 
estimated that the Myanmar population might include up to 8,000 pairs 
(Eames et al. 2005; Grimmitt 2006). However, we believe that this 
population estimate, based on the availability of suitable habitat, may 
be an overestimate for this species for two reasons: (1) The Myanmar 
population may not be randomly distributed in suitable habitat as 
assumed by these researchers, and (2) the extrapolation does not take 
into account human-induced threats, such as trapping. Therefore, until 
the predictions have been ground-truthed, we are unable to consider the 
8,000 pair estimate as a reliable reflection of the current population 
size. We consider the 150 pitta sightings made in 2004 to be the most 
accurate current estimate of the Gurney's pitta population size in 

Conservation Status

    The conservation status of the Gurney's pitta is provided both on a 
global level and according to individual range countries. Thailand is 
again discussed before Myanmar.
    Global population status: The Gurney's pitta has been classified as 
``Critically Endangered'' by the IUCN since 1994 (BLI 2005).
    Thailand: Gurney's pitta is protected by the Wildlife Animal 
Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) in Thailand (B.E. 2535 1992; 
Eames et al. 2005). However, this regulatory mechanism is ineffective 
at reducing or removing threats directed at the species (see Factor D).
    Myanmar: The species is protected in Myanmar by the Wildlife Act of 
1994 (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c). However, this regulatory mechanism is 

ineffective at reducing or removing threats directed at the species 
(see Factor D).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Gurney's pitta

    Where applicable in the sections below, factors affecting the 
survival of Gurney's pitta are discussed in two parts: (1) Regional 
factors (affecting or including both range countries), and (2) Factors 
within individual range countries.

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of the Gurney's Pitta's Habitat or Range

(1) Regional factors
    Experts believe that steady habitat loss since the 1920s 
contributed to the species' historical decline (BLI 2000b, 2001c; Rose 
2003). Large-scale conversion of habitat for agriculture (such as rice 
planting) in Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Myanmar, began in 
the 1800s. This was followed by forest clearing for cash crops, such as 
rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) and oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). The 1950s 
saw the advent of a commercial logging industry to satisfy an 
increasing demand for Asian timber (Sodhi et al. 2004). Despite a 
complete logging ban implemented in Thailand in 1989, illegal logging 
and forest conversion for agriculture continued.
(2) Factors Within Individual Range Countries
    Thailand: Thailand has lost an average of 1,274 mi\2\ (3,300 km\2\) 
of natural forest since 1960, with deforestation rates in the last 
three decades often exceeding 3 percent per year (Brown et al. 2001). 
By 1987, only 20 to 50 km\2\ of forest below 328 ft (100 m) (habitat 
preferred by Gurney's pitta) remained in peninsular Thailand (BLI 
2000b, 2001c). A portion of the last remaining viable population of 
Gurney's pitta, the Khao Nur Chuchi population, was included within the 
Khlong Pra-Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary in 1993. However, encroachment 
for settlements and clearing for crops were continuous problems through 
the 1990s, as summarized by BirdLife International (2001c). The other, 
more extensive, portion of the population was included in the Kao Phra 
Bang Khram Forest Reserve (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c).

    There has been a substantial conservation effort to foster 
sustainable agricultural practices around the Khao Nor Chuchi protected 
area. In 1990, the Khao Nor Chuchi Lowland Forest Project was 
established to engage the local community in management, education 
programs, and ecotourism, to reduce pressure on the remaining forest 
habitat. This project met with only limited success (BLI 2007g), and 
illegal forest clearance has persisted into the 21st century 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Rose 2003). Moreover, the more recent 

practice of planting oil palms, which are more profitable than rubber 
plantations, on illegally cleared forest patches, removes the natural 
ground cover used for foraging and concealment by the ground-dwelling 
pitta (Rose 2003).
    Myanmar: Gurney's pitta is found within the 193 mi \2\ (500 km \2\ 
) Ngawun Reserve Forest, described as the largest remaining contiguous 
lowland forest in southern Myanmar (BLI 2003b, 2005), and also within 
neighboring Lenya forest, site of a proposed National Park (BLI-IP & 
BANCA Darwin Project Office 2006), located within Tanintharyi Division. 
Recent surveys indicated that Myanmar's Tanintharyi Division contains 
substantial suitable habitat for pittas (estimated to be 1,349 mi \2\ 
(3494 km \2\ ), but much of it was fragmented (BLI 2005) and 
deforestation for oil palm plantations was ongoing (Eames et al. 2005). 
Between 1990 and 1995, Myanmar lost 1,494 mi \2\ (3,870 km \2\ ) of 
forest per year, averaging a 1.4 percent reduction in forests per year 
(FAO 1999). In southern Tanintharyi Division,

[[Page 3169]]

logging reduced one large patch of lowland forest from 163 mi \2\ (423 
km \2\ ) in 1990 to 102 mi \2\ (265 km \2\ ) in 2000 (Eames et al. 

Summary of Factor A

    Although the known range of the Gurney's pitta has expanded 
considerably with the rediscovery of the species in Myanmar, habitat 
conversion, destruction, and encroachment continues to be a significant 
factor throughout the species' range. Illegal logging and conversion 
for cash crops continue throughout the species' range. Based on the 
above information, we find that the Gurney's pitta is at significant 
risk throughout its range due to the present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Gurney's pitta was popular in the pet trade in the 1980s and was 
overutilized for this purpose by local snare-trappers (BLI 2007g; Rose 
2003; Thailand Scientific Authority 1990). Illegal trade in the species 
was occurring even when experts were not reporting sightings of the 
species. For instance, the species was reportedly on the price list of 
an illicit Thai-based animal dealer in 1985, one year before the 
population was rediscovered in Thailand (Thailand Scientific Authority 
1990). Ironically, the rediscovery of the pitta in Thailand can be 
credited to a wildlife smuggler in Bangkok, who helped rediscover the 
species. After the smuggler was found with a bird in his possession, he 
led researchers to a small forest patch in southern Thailand, where the 
species was subsequently observed (Round & Gretton 1989). The species 
was listed in Appendix III of CITES by Thailand in 1987 (UNEP-WCMC 
2007a), requiring that a certificate of origin or export permit from 
Thailand accompany international exports of the species. In 1990, 
Gurney's pitta was uplisted to CITES Appendix I, which prohibited 
international trade for commercial purposes. According to the WCMC 
database, there has been no CITES-reported trade in this species since 
its listing in 1987 (UNEP-WCMC 2007b).
    Trapping for the caged-bird trade continued to threaten the species 
through the late 20th into the early 21st century (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 

2001c; Rose 2003), including evidence of non-specific poaching at Khao 
Nur Chuchi Non-Hunting Area (WorldTwitch Thailand 2000). Although Rose 
(2003) believed that trapping had ceased, Kekule (2005) found bird-nets 
surrounding an abandoned pitta nest within the Khao Nur Chuchi 
population in Thailand; the nets were placed there by villagers to 
capture the birds (see also Factor D).
    We are not aware of any specific information regarding trapping or 
illegal trade in Myanmar, and there is no specific information 
indicating that scientific or educational uses of the species are a 

Summary of Factor B

    Trapping has impacted the species in the past and may be ongoing. 
Given the species' small population size in Thailand, estimated at 24 
to 30 individuals, reports of ongoing trapping and hunting activities 
within the species' only known range in Thailand is a significant 
concern. As such, we consider the trapping or hunting to be factors 
that threaten the species in Thailand.

C. Disease or Predation

    There is no information about diseases affecting Gurney's pitta. 
Regarding predation, dog-tooth cat snake (Boiga cynodon) is a natural 
predator of the Gurney's pitta. The dog-tooth cat snake is a member of 
the night tree adder family that can reach lengths up to 9 ft (2.75 m). 
A tree dweller, this snake is native to several southeast Asian 
countries. In Thailand, the snake has been found in Prachuap Khiri Khan 
(the location of the largest known pitta population in Thailand) and it 
shares many similarities with Gurney's pitta, including living mainly 
in lowland rain forests, rarely entering cultivated areas or human 
settlements, and principally feeding on birds and their eggs (Thiesen 
n.d). Gretton (1988) reported that a dog-tooth cat snake killed near a 
Gurney's pitta nest contained a chick that it had apparently taken from 
the nest the previous day. Given the small remaining population size in 
Thailand (estimated to be 11 breeding pairs in 2000 (BLI 2000b)), 
predation by the dog-tooth cat snake would present a threat to the 
pitta, but no further information on this threat is available to us.

Summary of Factor C

    Predation may affect Gurney's pittas, but there is insufficient 
information for us to consider this a significant factor currently 
impacting the Gurney's pitta.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Thailand: Gurney's pitta is protected by the Wildlife Animal 
Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) (B.E. 2535 1992; Eames et al. 
2005). Under this act, hunting is prohibited (section 16), as is 
possession of carcasses (section 19), trade (section 20), and 
collection, harm, or possession of nests (section 21). Violations of 
sections 16, 19, or 20 may result in imprisonment not exceeding four 
years or fines not exceeding 40,000 baht, or both. Violations of 
section 21 may result in imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or fines not 
exceeding 6,000 baht. However, while Thai law does not allow capture or 
sale of the Gurney's pitta, the law does allow for possession of the 
species and bird-nets have recently been found near empty Gurney's 
pitta nests within the range of Thailand's only remaining viable 
population of the species (the Khao Nur Chuchi population) (Kekule 
2005). This suggests that this regulation is inadequate to protect the 
few remaining individuals of this species from hunting (Factor B).
    Protection of the species' habitat has not been effective in 
addressing forest clearance and poaching (Factor A). When the Khlong 
Pra-Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1993, it provided 
incomplete protection for pitta territories, as only 5 of the 21 known 
pitta territories were encompassed within the Sanctuary. The most 
important and extensive areas of pitta habitat and territories were not 
included, including a crucial 12 mi\2\ (30 km\2\) area considered to be 
core to the pitta habitat (Round 1999; BLI 2001c). Sanctuaries are 
reportedly rarely patrolled by staff (WorldTwitch Thailand 2000) and a 
survey in 2001 confirmed that protection and law enforcement at Khao 
Nor Chuchi was essentially nonexistent (Rose 2003). While the Sanctuary 
receives funds for its management from the central government, 
authority to address problems within the Reserve is given to the 
provincial officials. This provides neither the authority nor the 
responsibility for Reserve staff to focus on problems within the 
reserve (BLI 2001c). As habitat destruction is ongoing within giant 
ibis habitat (BLI 2001c; Kekule 2005; Rose 2003), this regulatory 
mechanism is ineffective at addressing the threat of habitat 
destruction (Factor A).
    Myanmar: This species is considered a ``completely protected'' 
species of wildlife under section 15(a) of Myanmar's Protection of 
Wildlife and Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law of 1994 
(Forest Department Notification No. 583/94; Protection of Wild Life and 
Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law 1994). This law made 
it is illegal to kill, hunt, wound, possess, sell, transport, or 
transfer a completely protected species without permission (section 

[[Page 3170]]

Violators of this law are subject to imprisonment for up to 7 years or 
a fine up to kyats 50,000, or both (section 37). We have no information 
that the species is being trapped, hunted, or sold in Myanmar. 
Therefore, this regulation is not currently removing or reducing the 
primary threat to this species within Myanmar, habitat destruction 
(Factor A).
    There are currently no protected areas in the peninsular region 
where the Gurney's pitta is found (Hirschfeld 2008). Within the Ngawun 
Forest Reserve, the habitat of the Gurney's pitta is protected under 
the provisions of the Burma Forest Act of 1902, as amended 
(Conservation Monitoring Centre 1992). Prohibited activities in 
reserved forests include trespassing, pasturing, damaging trees, 
setting fires, mining, cultivation, poisoning or dynamiting, hunting, 
shooting, fishing, or setting traps or snares. According to BirdLife 
International--Indochina Program (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 
2005), the Ngawun Forest Reserve is the largest block of lowland forest 
in southern Myanmar, but it remains inadequately protected due to 
ineffective enforcement. Therefore, this regulation is not removing or 
reducing the primary threat to this species within Myanmar, habitat 
destruction (Factor A).
    The species is also apparently extant in neighboring Lenya forest, 
site of the proposed Lenya National Park (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project 
Office 2006). However, it appears that the Park has yet to be 
established and, as currently drawn, its boundaries would not encompass 
critical pitta territories within the Lenya Forest or the Ngawun Forest 
Reserve (BLI-IP & BANCA Darwin Project Office 2006; Grimmitt 2006). 
Therefore, because that establishment of the Park as currently drawn 
would exclude pitta territory, this mechanism would not likely remove 
or reduce the primary threat to this species within Myanmar, habitat 
destruction (Factor A).

Summary of Factor D

    Although regulatory mechanisms are in place that could reduce or 
remove threats to the species, implementation of these mechanisms 
appears to be slow (such as the delay in establishing the proposed 
National Park), ineffective (such as the inability to quell poaching 
threats to the species), or inadequate. For instance, in Thailand, 
there is evidence of trapping within Gurney's pitta territory. Despite 
indications that poaching is ongoing, the law allows for possession of 
the species, although it does not allow capture or sale. Therefore, we 
believe the inadequacy and ineffective implementation of regulatory 
mechanisms are contributory risk factors that endanger the Gurney's 

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    Collection of forest products may constitute a disturbance to 
Gurney's pitta in Thailand during their breeding season. The edible 
fruits of the rakum palm, one of the palms in which the Gurney's pitta 
nests, are sought after in Thailand (BLI 2007g). Peak harvest occurs in 
June and July (World Agroforestry Center (WAC) n.d.), coinciding with 
the Gurney's pitta breeding season (http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c, 2007g). 

However, forest-collected fruit is considered inferior to the 
cultivated variety, harvest has never been tracked (WAC n.d.), and we 
are unaware of any research concerning this type of disturbance in 
relation to the Gurney's pitta. Thus, we are unable to conclude that 
this activity threatens the species' survival, due to insufficient 
    Small, isolated populations of wildlife species are susceptible to 
demographic and genetic problems (Shaffer 1981). These threat factors, 
which may act in concert, include natural variation in survival and 
reproductive success of individuals, chance disequilibrium of sex 
ratios, changes in gene frequencies due to genetic drift, and 
diminished genetic diversity and associated effects due to inbreeding. 
Demographic problems may include reduced reproductive success of 
individuals and chance disequilibrium of sex ratios (Charlesworth & 
Charlesworth 1987; Shaffer 1981). Using the 50 / 500 rule (as described 
under Factor E for the black stilt) (Soul[eacute] 1980; Hunter 1996) 
and given the two population estimates (24 to 30 in Thailand 
(http://www.rdb.or.id; BLI 2001c; Rose 2003), and 150 in Myanmar (BLI-IP & 

BANCA Darwin Project Office 2005)), the population in Thailand has 
likely undergone inbreeding. In addition, both the Thai and the Myanmar 
populations exist at numbers well below the minimum (of at least 500 
individuals in order to prevent the loss of genetic diversity over time 
and maintain an enhanced capacity to adapt to changing conditions. As 
such, we currently consider the species to be at significant risk due 
to lack of near- and long-term genetic viability.

Summary of Factor E

    The Gurney's pitta may be adversely affected by collection of the 
rakum fruit in Thailand, which grows in a tree in which the pitta nests 
and which ripens coincident with the Gurney's pitta's breeding season. 
However, no specific data exist to indicate that disturbance from fruit 
collection may be an actual threat. Therefore, we do not consider fruit 
collection to be a factor impacting the Gurney's pitta at this time.
    The small population size of the Gurney's pitta, estimated at 24 to 
30 in Thailand and 150 in Myanmar, poses a risk to this species 
throughout its range with regard to lack of near-term long-term genetic 
viability and to potential demographic shifts. Therefore, we consider 
the species' extremely small population size and associated genetic and 
demographic risks to be significant factors that endanger the Gurney's 
pitta throughout its range.

Conclusion and Determination for the Gurney's Pitta

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the Gurney's pitta. We have determined that the 
species is in danger of extinction throughout all of its known range 
primarily due to habitat loss (Factor A), trapping, or hunting in 
Thailand (Factor B), and genetic and demographic risks associated with 
the species' small population size (Factor E). Furthermore, we have 
determined that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to 
reduce or remove these threats is a contributory factor to the risks 
that endanger this species' continued existence (Factor D). Therefore, 
we are determining endangered status for the species under the Act. 
Because we find that the Gurney's pitta is endangered throughout all of 
its range, there is no reason to consider its status in any significant 
portion of its range.

V. Long-Legged Thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa)

Species Description

    The long-legged thicketbird is an Old World warbler belonging to 
the Sylvidae family, and native to the Fiji Islands. The species is 
also commonly known as the long-legged warbler (BLI 2007i). Local 
residents named the secretive thicketbird ``Manu Kalou,'' or ``Spirit 
Bird,'' during the 19th century because of its ethereal voice (BLI 
2000c; Dutson & Masibalavu 2004). Adults stand 6 in (17 cm) tall, with 
long blue legs, a short black bill, and a long tail. Upperparts of the 
body are warm brown with a long supercilium (head plumage). The throat 
is white and the flanks are a pale, rufous color (BLI 2007i).

[[Page 3171]]


    The long-legged thicketbird was described by Reichenow as 
Trichocichla rufa in 1890, and placed in the Sylvidae family as a 
monospecific genus. Two specimens discovered on the island of Vanua 
Levu in 1974 were described as a distinct subspecies (Trichocichla rufa 
clunei) (BLI 2003c; Kirby 2003b; Helen Pippard, Director of 
Environment, Suva, Fiji, in litt. February 2007). However, ITIS and 
BirdLife recognize the long-legged thicketbird only to the species 
level, and we accept this taxonomy.

Habitat and Life History

    The long-legged thicketbird requires intact mid- to high-elevation 
forest associated with riverine habitat and dense vegetation (H. 
Pippard in litt. February 2007). Its habitat is dominated by old-growth 
montane forest (BLI 2007i), and the species is found at altitudes 
ranging from 2,625 to 3,281 ft (800 to 1000 m) (Dutson & Masibalavu 
    Because this species was known only from four voucher specimens 
until 2002, very little is known about its life history (BLI 2007i). It 
is characterized as a secretive ground-warbler that is easily 
overlooked unless it is singing (BLI 2007i). Its call is distinctive, 
and recognizing its song is considered key to identifying it in the 
wild (Dutson & Masibalavu 2004).

Historical Range and Distribution

    The long-legged thicketbird is endemic to the Fijian Islands. The 
Fijian Archipelago comprises over 320 islands, over an area 
approximating 502,000 mi\2\ (1.3 million km\2\) (Chand 2002). 
Historically the species was found on two Fijian islands: Viti Levu and 
Vanua Levu. Viti Levu, meaning ``Big Fiji,'' is the largest island, 
with an area of 4,011 mi\2\ (10,390 km\2\). Vanua Levu, meaning ``Big 
Land,'' is little more than half as large at 2,135 mi\2\ (5,530 km\2\) 
(Chand 2002).
    The long-legged thicketbird was long considered extinct, with no 
confirmed observations since 1894 (BLI 2003c; Kirby 2003b) and several 
unconfirmed sightings in 1967, 1973, and 1991 (BLI 2000c). The first 
confirmed sighting in recent time was that of two individuals in 1974, 
found on the island of Vanua Levu (BLI 2003c; Kirby 2003b). There was 
no evidence of its continued existence until 2002, when it was 
rediscovered on Viti Levu (BLI 2003c). The Fijian government considers 
the species to be extinct on Vanua Levu, where forests are less intact 
and there have been greater impacts from forest loss, including 
invasive species (H. Pippard in litt. February 2007).

Current Range and Distribution

    The long-legged thicketbird was rediscovered in 2002, although 
confirmation of the sighting took nearly a year (BLI 2003c; Kirby 
2003b). It was located at several sites on Viti Levu, found only in 
dense undergrowth of the Fijian mountains (BLI 2003c; Kirby 2003b; H. 
Pippard in litt. February 2007). However, a researcher who spent 5 
years working in Fiji on conservation projects indicated that the 
species is ``commonly found if you know where to look for it in mid-
elevation rocky streams with dense overstories'' (D. Olson in litt. 
February 2007). The largest known concentration of the long-legged 
thicketbird is found within the approximately 2 mi\2\ (5 km\2\) area 
known as the Wabu National Forest Reserve (BLI 2007i). Little is known 
about the species' current range, necessitating additional surveys in 
suitable habitat (BLI 2007i).

Population Estimates

    There is insufficient information to determine the historic 
population levels of this species (BLI 2007i). Today, researchers 
believe that the species is locally common in ideal habitat (unlogged 
forest at elevations between 2,625 and 3,281 ft (800 and 1000 m)), but 
that it is patchy in distribution and absent from most forest (BLI 
2003c, 2007i; D. Olson in litt. February 2007; Kirby 2003b). The 
current population is estimated to be between 50 to 249 individuals. 
However, this estimation is a categorical one, used by BirdLife 
International to conform to the IUCN criteria. The actual number of 
individuals may be much smaller (or larger) than this range suggests. 
In surveys conducted from 2002 to 2005, 12 pairs were discovered in 
Wabu (BLI 2003c, 2007i; Kirby 2003b). Nine pairs were found along a 
1.24-mi (2-km) length of stream in dense undergrowth thickets; two of 
these pairs were accompanied by recently fledged juveniles. Using the 
data from the 2005 field surveys, only 30 individuals were observed 
during field surveys in 2005 (BLI 2003c; Kirby 2003b).

Conservation Status

    The Fiji Department of Environment considers the extant long-legged 
thicketbird on Viti Levu to be vulnerable to further decline or 
extinction. Conservation priorities for this species include: 
protection of forest and research on the species' habitat requirements 
and impacts of invasive species on the species (H. Pippard in litt. 
February 2007). As of 2007, the species was classified by the IUCN as 
endangered, where it was previously classified as data deficient (BLI 
2006b, 2007i; H. Pippard in litt. February 2007).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Long-Legged Thicketbird

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of the Long-Legged Thicketbird's Habitat or Range

    Habitat destruction from logging, conversion to agriculture, and 
invasive species threatens the long-legged thicketbird habitat. The 
most recent estimates of forest cover on the islands of Vanua Levu and 
Viti Levu are from 1995. In 1995, the total forested area, including 
mangrove forest, pine plantation, hardwood plantation, scattered 
natural forest, medium dense natural forest, and dense natural forest, 
on the Fiji Islands was 3,293 mi\2\ (9933 km\2\) (Lal & Touvou 2003). 
This equated to just under half of Fiji's total land area and included 
an excess of 490 mi\2\ (1,270 km\2\) of the dense forest, preferred by 
the long-legged thicketbird (on Viti Levu, and 463 mi\2\ (1,200 km\2\) 
on Vanua Levu) (Chand 2002). Although there is more forested area on 
Vanua Levu than on Viti Levu, Fiji considers that the degree of habitat 
degradation on Vanua Levu has resulted in the species' extirpation from 
that island (H. Pippard in litt. February 2007).
    Logging: According to the Fijian government, logging of virgin 
forests is the primary threat to this species, which prefers intact 
forest habitat (H. Pippard in litt. February 2007). Eighty-three 
percent of the total land area, including most of the natural forest 
cover, is privately owned (McKenzie et al. 2005). The forestry sector 
contributes 2.5 percent to Fiji's gross domestic product (GDP) and 
about F$50 million (US$27.6 million) in foreign exchange export 
earnings annually (McKenzie et al. 2005).
    The Fijian government began large-scale planting of pine and 
hardwoods in the 1960s, such that today 13 percent of Fiji's forests 
are planted. In 2003, there were approximately 204 mi\2\ (529 km\2\) of 
hardwood plantations, mainly big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), 
and 179 mi\2\ (463 km\2\) of pine (Pinus caribea) plantations (ITTO 
2005). Habitat conversion for timber plantations, including pine and 
big-leaf mahogany, in long-legged thicketbird habitat renders the 
habitat unsuitable for the bird (BLI 2003c), as it prefers intact 
forest (Pippard in litt. February 2007). See also Factor D.
    Conversion to agriculture: The economy is dominated by the sugar

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industry and food crops, including taro, cassava, sweet potatoes or 
kumala, and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. An estimated 67 
percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture, and this sector 
of the economy accounts for almost 21 percent of Fiji's GDP (Chand 
2002). In 2007, Fiji released census data that estimated the population 
on the islands to be 827,900 inhabitants. This represents an increase 
of 53,000 people since the 1996 census (Fiji Government Online 2007). 
Most of these people inhabit the two main islands of Viti Levu and 
Vanua Levu (Dutson & Masibalavu 2004). As the population increases, the 
production area of these and other major food crops continues to 
increase each year. In Fiji, all preferred arable lands are fully 
utilized or unavailable for land tenure reasons. Thus, agriculture has 
expanded onto steeper marginal land to the interior of the island 
(Chand 2002). Agricultural conversion produces unsuitable conditions 
for the long-legged thicketbird, which prefers intact forests with 
dense vegetation, and the continuing expansion of agriculture into 
steeper lands to the interior jeopardizes the long-legged thicketbird, 
which prefers mid- to high-elevation forest (H. Pippard in litt. 
February 2007).
    Invasive species: Although BirdLife International (2007i) noted 
that the influx of invasive species has not been shown to have 
deleterious effects on the suitability of the habitat for the long-
legged thicketbird, it is unclear what factors were considered to 
arrive at this determination, including whether they referred to 
invasive animals or plants. The long-legged thicketbird prefers intact 
forest, and the Fijian government considers invasive species to be a 
factor that contributed to the species' extirpation from Vanua Levu (H. 
Pippard in litt. February 2007). Invasive plants and animals are 
problematic on Viti Levu (See Factor C for further discussion on 
invasive animals). African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) is 
invasive in forests and open areas of Viti Levu (McKenzie et al. 2005).
    No longer facing the natural enemies or competition from other 
species that they faced in their place of origin, invasive plants are 
capable of spreading and outcompeting native species. Invasive plants 
can spread and reproduce prolifically, causing significant changes to 
ecosystems and upsetting their ecological balance.
    Human disturbance, such as logging activities and agricultural 
conversion, is considered a major vector for introducing invasive 
plants. Once an invasive plant is introduced to an area, it has the 
potential to invade larger areas (USGS 2006). Thus, in the face of 
increasing habitat disturbance, invasive plants could pose a threat to 
the long-legged thicketbird, which prefers intact primary forest (H. 
Pippard in litt. February 2007). However, we are unaware of specific 
information regarding the effect of invasive plants on the long-legged 
thicketbird or its habitat. As, such we are unable to make a 
determination as to the threat this factor might cause, if any, to the 

Summary of Factor A

    Habitat destruction from logging and habitat conversion to 
agricultural purposes produce unsuitable conditions for the long-legged 
thicketbird, which prefers intact forest with dense vegetation. We 
consider habitat destruction to be a significant threat to the long-
legged thicketbird that endangers the species throughout its range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    According to the Fijian government, there is no trade, collection, 
or captive breeding of the long-legged thicketbird at this time, nor is 
any likely in the future (H. Pippard in litt. February 2007). There is 
no known threat to the species from use for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes. The species has not been formally 
considered for listing in the Appendices of CITES (http://www.cites.org).

C. Disease or Predation

    We have no information to indicate that the long-legged thicketbird 
is threatened by disease.
    Predation by invasive animals, namely rats (Rattus spp.) and 
mongooses (Rallus phillopensis), is considered by Fiji to be a highly 
significant threat to the species (H. Pippard in litt. February 2007). 
Mongooses were introduced in 1883 to Fiji to kill rats, but both these 
species could potentially be serious predatory threats to the long-
legged thicketbird (BLI 2000c). According to BirdLife International 
(2007i), however, the long-legged thicketbird has been found 
successfully nesting alongside these predators in Wabu, indicating that 
mongooses may not be predators after all. The first sighting of this 
species in 2002 was of a long-legged thicketbird warding off a mongoose 
from its nearby nest, which would indicate that the species exhibits 
anti-predatory behavior (Dutson & Masibalavu 2004). Given the species' 
small population size, between 50 to 249 individuals, predation could 
pose a significant risk to the long-legged thicketbird. However, there 
is insufficient information to determine that predation is ongoing or 
has the potential to negatively affect this species.

Summary of Factor C

    More information is needed in order to determine the role of 
predation, if any, in this species' decline. Currently, there is 
insufficient information to determine that threats from predation are 
contributing to the species' risk of extinction.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The long-legged thicketbird is a threatened species under Schedule 
1, Section 3 of Fiji's Endangered and Protected Species Act of 2002 
(No. 29 of 2002). This law and its implementing regulations (Endangered 
and Protected Species Regulations (Act No. 29 2002; Legal Notice No. 
64) prohibit trade in the thicketbird, unless permitted. As trade is 
not known to be a threat to the thicketbird, this law and its 
implementing regulations do not address the conservation needs of the 
    The thicketbird is also a ``protected bird'' under Fiji's Birds and 
Game Protection Act of 1923 (Rev. 1985), as amended. Under this Act it 
is illegal to willfully kill, wound, or take any protected bird, or 
attempt to sell, possess, or export a protected bird, or their parts, 
nests or eggs (Part II, Sec.  3). The penalty for violating this Act is 
a fine not to exceed $50, or, if this amount cannot be paid, 
imprisonment for up to 3 months (Part IV, Sec.  15) (Birds and Game 
Protection Act 1985). As hunting and trapping are not known to be 
threats to the thicketbird, this law and its regulations do not address 
the conservation needs of the species.
    Some of the forest habitat of the long-legged thicketbird is within 
the Wabu National Forest Reserve and is protected under Fijian law (BLI 
2007i). However, the protections within the reserve are not absolute 
and the Forestry Act has a number of serious weaknesses. For example, 
legal loopholes permit clearcutting of forests over which the Forestry 
Department has no control, and all protected areas established under 
the provisions of the Forestry Act are subject to dereservation at the 
ministerial level; and reserve forests have frequently been dereserved 
(World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1992). In addition, forest 
reserves are managed as long-term production forests, with extraction 
being allowed by permit (Forest Decree 1992, Part III). In 2003, 
experts considered that insufficient

[[Page 3173]]

protection of long-legged thicketbird habitat would lead to a high 
probability of habitat conversion or destruction (BLI 2003c; Kirby 
2003b). According to Dutson and Masibalavu (2004), BirdLife Fiji is 
working with the Department of Forestry to focus on long-term 
protection within the Wabu and with local communities to focus on 
forest conservation and alternatives to forest destruction, such as 
ecotourism, which may help to moderate habitat destruction. However, we 
consider this regulatory mechanism to be inadequate in removing or 
reducing the primary threat to this species, habitat destruction.

Summary of Factor D

    While some of the forest habitat of the long-legged thicketbird is 
within the 2-mi\2\ (5-km\2\) Wabu Forest Reserve (Wabu) and is 
protected under Fijian law, the regulatory mechanisms in place to 
protect the species do not adequately reduce or remove the primary 
manmade threat to this species, habitat destruction (Factor A). We 
conclude that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is a 
contributory risk factor that endangers the long-legged thicketbird.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    Two additional factors are considered herein, genetic risks 
associated with small population sizes and threats from stochastic 
    Effect of small population sizes: Small, isolated populations of 
wildlife species are susceptible to demographic and genetic problems 
(Shaffer 1981). These threat factors, which may act in concert, include 
natural variation in survival and reproductive success of individuals, 
chance disequilibrium of sex ratios, changes in gene frequencies due to 
genetic drift, and diminished genetic diversity and associated effects 
due to inbreeding, loss of genetic variation, and accumulation of new 
mutations. Inbreeding can have individual and population consequences 
by either increasing the phenotypic expression of recessive, 
deleterious alleles or by reducing the overall fitness of individuals 
in the population (Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987; Shaffer 1981). In 
the absence of more species-specific life history data, a general 
approximation of minimum viable population size is referred to as the 
50/500 rule (Soul[eacute] 1980; Hunter 1996), described under Factor E 
for the black stilt. The available information indicates that, with an 
Ne of approximately 50 (BLI 2007i), the long-legged 
thicketbird teeters on the edge of the minimum number of individuals 
required to avoid imminent risks from inbreeding (Ne = 50). 
The current maximum estimate of 249 individuals for the entire 
population (BLI 2007i) is only half of the upper threshold 
(Ne = 500) required to maintain genetic diversity over time 
and to maintain an enhanced capacity to adapt to changing conditions. 
As such, we currently consider the species to be at risk due to its 
lack of near- and long-term genetic viability.
    Threats from stochastic events: Small populations of wildlife 
species also susceptible to stochastic environmental events (for 
example, severe storms, prolonged drought, extreme cold spells, 
wildfire). Stochastic events could result in extensive mortalities from 
which the population may be unable to recover, leading to extinction 
(Caughley 1994; Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987). Fiji is susceptible 
to damage from tropical storms and cyclones. Tropical storms, which can 
sustain winds up to 130 miles per hour (mph) (209 kilometers per hour 
(kph)), are common in the South Pacific from November to April 
(Ligaiula 2007). Cyclones, also known as typhoons, are storms that 
typically form at sea and move inland, generating high winds exceeding 
130 mph (209 kph) up to 200 mph (322 kph). Thirteen tropical storms 
have hit Fiji in the past 10 years (Associated Press 2007). In December 
2007, Cyclone Daman made landfall on Viti Levu, with winds up to 155 
mph (250 kph). Trees were destroyed, and heavy rains caused landslides 
and flooding in low-lying areas (Ligaiula 2007). The extant long-legged 
thicketbird population is extremely small and highly localized (BLI 
2003c, 2007i; Kirby 2003b). Therefore, any additional stress to the 
population due to stochastic events, such as cyclones, represents a 
risk to the species and could lead to a further decline in the species' 
abundance or the extent of its occupied range.

Summary of Factor E

    In addition to ongoing threats to the species' habitat (see Factor 
A), a major risk to the long-legged thicketbird is lack of near- and 
long-term genetic viability associated with the extant population's 
extremely small size. In addition, the long-legged thicketbird is 
vulnerable to reductions in numbers or extinction from stochastic 
events, such as cyclones. We consider the species' extremely small 
population size, the associated genetic risks and demographic shifts, 
and vulnerability to stochastic events to be significant risks that 
endanger the long-legged thicketbird throughout its range.

Conclusion and Determination for the Long-Legged Thicketbird

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the long-legged thicketbird, above. We have 
determined that the species is in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its known range primarily due to ongoing threats to its habitat 
(Factor A), lack of near- and long-term genetic and associated 
demographic shifts, and susceptibility to stochastic events due to 
risks associated small population sizes (Factor E). Furthermore, we 
have determined that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms 
(Factor D) is a contributory risk factor that endangers the species. 
Therefore, we are determining endangered status for the long-legged 
thicketbird under the Act. Because we find that the long-legged 
thicketbird is endangered throughout all of its range, there is no 
reason to consider its status in any significant portion of its range.

VI. Socorro Mockingbird (Mimus graysoni)

Species Description

    The Socorro mockingbird is a member of the Mimidae family, and 
endemic to Socorro Island, Mexico. This species is also referred to as 
Socorro thrasher, especially in older literature (e.g., Brattstrom & 
Howell 1956). Adults stand about 10 in (25 cm) tall and are mostly 
brown, with whitish underparts, darker wings (except for two narrow 
bands of white), a dark tail, reddish iris, and dark gape (the soft 
tissue at the corner of the mouth) (BLI 2007f; Mart[iacute]nez-
G[oacute]mez & Curry 1998). Male and female Socorro mockingbirds have 
similar plumage, but males are larger than females. A juvenile (first-
year bird) can be distinguished from an adult by its plumage, spotted 
breast, grayish iris, and yellowish gape (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez 
& Curry 1998).


    The Socorro mockingbird was first taxonomically described as 
Mimodes graysoni (Mimidae family), by Lawrence in 1871. Ornithologists 
recognized that the species' behavioral characteristics were 
reminiscent of the mockingbird genus, Mimus, of the same family (Barber 
et al. 2004). Genetic analysis conducted by Barber et al. (2004) 
demonstrated that the species is most closely related to Mimus spp. In 
our proposed rule, we referred to this species as Mimodes. However, we 

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the appropriate taxonomy for the species is Mimus graysoni, which 
follows the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS 2007).

Habitat and Life History

    The geography of Socorro Island rises from sea level on the coast 
to a height of nearly 3,445 ft (4,000 m) elevation on the peak of Mount 
Evermann, in the center of the island (Comisi[oacute]n Nacional de 
[Aacute]reas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) n.d.). Socorro mockingbirds 
are found in greatest abundance at elevations above 1,969 ft (600 m) 
(Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez & Curry 1996). They prefer undisturbed 
montane areas and primary forests that have a variety of fruit-bearing 
plants and a high density of tree species. Dominant plant species in 
the Socorro's preferred habitat include holly (Ilex socorrensis), 
Guettarda insularis (no common name), and lion's paw (Oreopanax 
xalapensis), along with the understory Triumfetta socorrensis and 
Eupatorium pacificum (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez et al. 2001). 
Socorro mockingbirds forage on fruits, invertebrates, and small 
arthropods (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez et al. 2001). They have been 
observed feeding on blowfly larvae on sheep carcasses (Brattstrom & 
Howell 1956).
    Little is known about the Socorro mockingbird's life history; 
breeding information is based largely on studies conducted by 
Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez and Curry (1995) during 1993 and 1994. 
They found four nests in 1994, which were located about 12 ft (3.7 m) 
off the ground, each in a different species of tree: Holly, Bumelia 
socorrensis (no common name), Guettarda insularis (no common name), and 
Meliosma nesites (no common name). Researchers inferred that nesting 
likely occurs between November and July, with a clutch size of three. 
Eggs were incubated by females only (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez & 
Curry 1998) for no more than 15 days (Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez & 
Curry 1995). A large number of subadults recorded during 1994 suggested 
high breeding success for the species (J. Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez 
in litt. via Comisi[oacute]n Nacional Para el Conocimiento y Uso de la 
Biodiversidad (CONABIO) February 2007).

Historical Range and Distribution

    The Socorro mockingbird is endemic to Socorro Island, Mexico, in 
the Revillagigedo archipelago of Mexico. Socorro Island is the largest 
of four Revillagigedo Islands, with an approximate land area of 54 
mi\2\ (140 km\2\) (Walter 1990). The island is 210 mi (338 km) 
southwest of Baja California, Mexico. The Socorro mockingbird was 
widespread and common on the island prior to 1958 (Mart[iacute]nez-
G[oacute]mez 2002). Brattstrom and Howell (1956) observed the species 
in coastal locations in the southwest part of the Island, inland at 
higher elevations, and in canyons on the northern part of the Island. 
Socorro mockingbird may have inhabited the southwest portions of the 
island only seasonally (R. Curry in litt. February 2007). By the 1980s, 
the species was restricted to undegraded fig groves (Ficus 
cotinifolia), habitat which was becoming rare (Jehl & Parkes 1982). 
Habitat reduction is considered the primary cause of population and 
range declines of the Socorro mockingbird (BLI 2000d).

Current Range and Distribution

    The current range of the Socorro mockingbird is limited to an 
estimated 6 mi2 (15 km2) area. The species is 
found in forests above 1,640 ft (500 m) (Martinez-Gomez 2002) and is 
most abundant at elevations above 1,969 ft (600 m) around Mt. Evermann 
(CONANP n.d.; Martinez-Gomez & Curry 1996; Wehtje et al. 1993).
    In our proposed rule (71 FR 67530), we noted, ``the species is less 
common in taller forest patches and fig groves at low and mid 
elevations.'' Martinez-Gomez (in litt. via CONABIO February 2007) 
pointed out that this may be misleading. The field study conducted by 
Martinez-Gomez et al. (2001) indicated that the absence of the Socorro 
mockingbird in the low-elevation fig grove was due to habitat 
degradation. This is discussed further under Factor A.
    In our proposed rule, we noted that the species ``is absent from 
areas of [croton] Croton masonii scrub near sea-level (Martinez-Gomez & 
Curry 1996).'' Curry (in litt. February 2007) clarified that it is 
uncertain whether Socorro mockingbird ever inhabited the croton scrub 
habitat, except as visitors during the nonbreeding season.

Population Estimates

    The Socorro mockingbird was once considered the most abundant 
landbird on Socorro Island (Brattstrom & Howell 1956). The population 
declined through the 1960s and 1970s, and by 1978 it was feared to be 
on the verge of extinction (Jehl & Parkes 1982). In our proposed rule, 
we wrote that ``current estimates of population size for the species 
range from 50 to 249 individuals (BLI 2000).'' According to Dr. Robert 
Curry (Associate Professor, Villanova University, Villanova, 
Pennsylvania, in litt. February 2007), there are two problems with this 
figure: (1) It does not reflect the most recent field data, but 
reflects data collected between 1988 and 1990; (2) it is not an 
``estimate'' of the Socorro mockingbird population, but rather the 
``category'' to which BirdLife International assigned the species, in 
accordance with the IUCN listing criteria. Based on the most recent 
surveys, carried out between 1993 and 1994, the estimated population 
total was 353 individuals, with a calculated uncertainty of 66 
(Martinez-Gomez & Curry 1996). Taking the calculated uncertainty of 
this estimate into account, the estimated total population ranged 
between 287 and 419 (R. Curry in litt. February 2007). This estimate 
was reconfirmed in the summer 2006, when Dr. Juan Martinez-Gomez 
(Island Endemics Foundation, Mexico, in litt. via CONABIO February 
2007) inspected previous banding areas on the Island. He encountered a 
population similar to that studied by Martinez-Gomez and Curry (1996), 
above, with an estimated population size between 298 and 408 
individuals. While Dr. Martinez-Gomez cautions against extrapolating 
these estimates beyond the banding areas studied, he indicated a 
likelihood that additional Socorro mockingbirds are on the island (J. 
Martinez-Gomez in litt. via CONABIO February 2007).
    In our proposed rule, we wrote, ``of 215 birds ringed in 1993-1994, 
55 percent were subadults.'' However, Martinez-Gomez (in litt. via 
CONABIO February 2007) noted this estimate was erroneously based on the 
pooled data from the 1993-1994 banding study conducted by Martinez-
Gomez and Curry (1996), which biased our estimate. The banding for the 
2-year study took place at different times of the year: The banding in 
1993 took place after the breeding season, and the 1994 banding took 
place during the entire breeding season. Thus, in analyzing the 1994 
data, which would be more representative of actual age ratios, it was 
apparent that sex ratios were not disproportionate and that the 
population had produced many young. Thus, the 1994 data suggest that 
the species has a high breeding success and that the population may be 
successful in recolonizing the area once habitat quality improves (J. 
Martinez-Gomez in litt. February 2007).

Conservation Status

    The IUCN has listed the Socorro mockingbird as ``Critically 
Endangered'' since 2000, due to loss of habitat and the small remaining 
number of mature adults (BLI 2007c). The species is categorized as 
``Peligro'' in Mexico, meaning it is in danger of extinction (Hesiquio 
Benitez Diaz, Director de Enlace y Asuntos Internacionales,

[[Page 3175]]

CONABIO, Tlalpan, Mexico, in litt. February 2007).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Socorro Mockingbird

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of Socorro Mockingbird's Habitat or Range

    Socorro mockingbird habitat in the southern portions of the island 
has been severely degraded by construction of a naval base and sheep 
overgrazing for the past 50 years. In addition, locust swarms 
(Schistocerca piceifrons) have invaded that island since the mid-1990s. 
These threats to Socorro mockingbird habitat are discussed in turn.
    Naval base: The Mexican Navy built a base on Socorro Island in the 
late 1950s (Martinez-Gomez et al. 2001). Built on the southernmost tip, 
at Bahia Vargas Lozano, the base supports more than 200 personnel and 
family (Wehtje et al. 1993). The Socorro mockingbird prefers 
undisturbed montane areas, and may have occupied the area seasonally 
before the base was built (R. Curry in litt. February 2007). During 
construction, native vegetation was removed from around the base and 
replaced with non-native grasses (Martinez-Gomez et al. 2001). Habitat 
destruction caused by construction of the naval base contributed to the 
species' extirpation from the southern third of the island (BLI 2000d), 
although not to the same extent as sheep overgrazing.
    Sheep overgrazing: The greatest impact on the habitat of Socorro 
Island has been severe degradation due to intensive grazing by 
introduced mammals (BLI 2000d; Curry in litt. February 2007; Martinez-
Gomez in litt. February 2007; Martinez-Gomez & Curry 1995, 1996; 
Martinez-Gomez et al. 2001). Socorro Island has no native mammals (Jehl 
& Parkes 1982). In our proposed rule, we noted that Cody (2005) 
reported that Socorro mockingbird habitat is threatened by destruction 
from introduced rabbits and pigs. However, Curry (in litt. February 
2007) pointed out that, while rabbits and pigs are problematic on the 
nearby island of Clarion, these two exotic mammals were never 
introduced on Socorro.
    Sheep were brought to Socorro Island near the end of the 19th 
century and, by 1956, there were an estimated 2,000 sheep living in the 
southern portions of the island (Brattstrom & Howell 1956). Left feral, 
the sheep overgrazed, creating extensive open areas (2005) and leaving 
the soil vulnerable to erosion (R. Curry in litt. February 2007; Wehtje 
et al. 1993). The Socorro mockingbird prefers undisturbed montane areas 
and forests with a dense understory. In the southern fig forests, hop 
bush (Dodonaea viscosa) has replaced the original understory, and these 
areas are too degraded for the Socorro to inhabit (Martinez-Gomez et 
al. 2001).
    Habitat degradation caused by sheep drastically altered habitat on 
Socorro Island (BLI 2000d; R. Curry in litt. February 2007; Martinez-
Gomez 2002), especially low- to mid-elevation fig forests (ranging in 
altitude from 0 to 1,640 ft (to 500 m)) in the southern portion of the 
island (Martinez-Gomez in litt. February 2007). By 1990, they had 
overgrazed the southern third of the island (Martinez-Gomez & Curry 
1996), where the Socorro mockingbird was once plentiful (Brattstrom & 
Howell), although perhaps only seasonally (R. Curry in litt. February 
2007). In the northern regions of Socorro Island, low- to mid-elevation 
fig forests are largely undegraded and serve as important habitat for 
the Socorro mockingbird (Martinez-Gomez & Curry 1996; Martinez-Gomez et 
al. 2001). Sheep overgrazing extirpated the species from one-third of 
its former range (BLI 2000d).
    Locust swarms: Another factor causing the degradation of Socorro 
mockingbird habitat was brought to our attention by Martinez-Gomez (in 
litt. February 2007). According to Martinez-Gomez (2005), permanent 
locust (Schistocerca piceifrons) swarms have invaded the island since 
1994. The locusts swarm twice yearly and are capable of reaching all 
points on the island. The swarms have defoliated trees and shrubs in 
several regions of the island, which decreases the availability of food 
from fruit trees and modifies the primary forest habitat which the 
species prefers. Locusts are especially pronounced in the southern 
portion of the Island. A larger number of young locusts and locusts in 
non-swarming stages are found in the degraded habitats in the south 
(Martinez-Gomez 2005). Martinez-Gomez (2005) concluded that the higher 
intensity of outbreaks in the southern portion of the island was an 
indirect result of sheep overgrazing and predation caused by introduced 
mammals, namely sheep and cats (see Factor C). Sheep overgrazing has 
created open conditions, providing suitable habitat for locust 
reproduction, as evidenced by the high number of young and non-swarming 
stages of locust found primarily in those areas (Martinez-Gomez 2005). 
In the northern portions of the island habitat is less degraded and 
bird densities are higher. Less degraded habitat provides less 
favorable conditions for the locusts and the swarms are less intense. 
Because birds eat locusts, they are better able to moderate the effects 
of the swarm, which also drives down the locust population in the 
north, where birds are found at higher densities. In the south, locusts 
swarms are more intense, and habitat destruction combined with 
predation has reduced the number of birds inhabiting the southern 
portion of the island. The low bird density in the south is 
insufficient to moderate the effects of the swarms being produced 
there. Locust swarms have also reduced available food sources, by 
denuding the fruit trees of bark which serve as part of the Socorro 
mockingbird diet. Martinez-Gomez (2005) attributed the greater and 
continued intensity of swarms in the south to the combination of 
habitat degradation (which created unsuitable habitat for the birds) 
and predation by cats (which reduced the number of birds). We consider 
sheep overgrazing to be a factor contributing to the endangerment of 
this species.

Summary of Factor A

    The current range of the Socorro mockingbird is limited to an 
estimated 6-mi2 (15-km2) area. Habitat has been 
altered by construction of the Naval base, sheep overgrazing and locust 
swarms, compounded by predation (Factor C). Locust swarms have reduced 
available food sources by denuding the fruit trees of bark. Preferring 
undisturbed montane habitat and primary forest, these factors have 
created unsuitable conditions for the species. Overgrazing and locust 
swarms continue to threaten the Socorro mockingbird. We believe that 
the Socorro mockingbird is at significant risk throughout its range due 
to the present and ongoing destruction and modification of its habitat.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    There is no information indicating that the Socorro mockingbird is 
being utilized for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational 
purposes. The species is not known to be in international trade and has 
not been formally considered for listing under CITES (http://www.cites.org).

C. Disease or Predation

    We are not aware of any disease concerns that may have led to the 
decline of the Socorro mockingbird species.
    Predation by native red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis 
soccoroensis) and

[[Page 3176]]

introduced feral cats is a factor in the species' decline. The red-
tailed hawk is one of two native raptors on the island; the other is 
the elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi graysoni), a small insectivore. On the 
mainland, red-tailed hawks eat primarily mammals; however, on Socorro 
Island their prey consists primarily of birds, land crabs, and lizards 
(Jehl & Parkes 1983; Wehtje et al. 1993). In addition, hawks have been 
known to prey on adults of other species on the island (Martinez-Gomex 
& Curry 1995). Martinez-Gomez and Curry (1995) concluded that nesting 
birds and adult Socorro mockingbirds were vulnerable to predation by 
red-tailed hawks.
    Cats: During their banding study in 1994, Martinez-Gomez and Curry 
(1995) reported that hawks and feral cats were likely predators of this 
species. Cats were introduced to the island in 1972 (Martinez-Gomez 
2002; Martinez-Gomez et al. 2001). Cat predation is considered the 
major factor responsible for extirpation of the Socorro dove (Zenaida 
graysoni) (Jehl & Parkes 1983). Examinations of cat stomach contents 
and scats found no substantive evidence of Socorro mockingbird remains. 
However, Curry (in litt. February 2007) and Martinez-Gomez (2002, 2005) 
consider that, while feral cats are not the primary reason for the 
Socorro mockingbird's decline, in combination with habitat degradation 
caused by sheep, predation by cats is contributing to its decline. 
Socorro mockingbird fledglings, which are unable to fly for several 
days after leaving the nest, and ground-foraging adults are vulnerable 
to predation by feral cats (Martinez-Gomez & Curry 1995, 1996).
    According to the Center for Tropical Research in Ecology, 
Agriculture, and Development (CenTREAD) (2007), eradication of feral 
cats from Socorro Island is listed as a primary goal in the draft 
management plan for the Biosphere Reserve (CenTREAD 2007). In 2001, 
Grupo de Ecologia y Conservacion de Islas, A.C. (GECI), received a 
North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to initiate the 
eradication of introduced mammals (including rabbits, pigs and sheep) 
from neighboring Clarion Island and to initiate the eradication of cats 
and sheep from Socorro Island (Sanchez and Tershy 2001). The work on 
Clarion Island was completed (CenTREAD 2007). However, the work on 
Socorro Island may prove to be lengthy and daunting. Dr. Bernie Tershy 
of the Institute for Marine Sciences (University of California, Santa 
Cruz, California), a primary researcher involved in the eradication 
programs on Clarion and Socorro Islands, worked with others to review 
the documented cases of feral cat eradications on islands and found 
only 48 examples (Nogales et al. 2003). Socorro Island has an area of 
54 mi2 (140 km2) (Walter 1990) and there are few 
examples of eradications on larger islands. Of the 48 examples reviewed 
by Nogales et al. (2003), most were conducted on islands smaller than 2 
mi2 (5 km2) and only a few on islands larger than 
6 mi2 (15 km2). One successful eradication 
program on a larger island (Marion Island, Republic of South Africa; 
area: 112 mi2 (290 km2)) took place over a 15-
year period. The removal process becomes more complicated when humans 
occupy the island, because preventing reintroduction of invasive 
species also becomes a factor (Nogales et al. 2003).
    Other predators: Feral house mice (Mus musculus), on the other 
hand, already present on the island, pose no known threat to the 
species (R. Curry in litt. February 2007). Curry (in litt. February 
2007) considers the potential accidental introduction of feral black 
rats (Rattus rattus) by Naval transport to be a grave potential threat 
to the Socorro mockingbird, considering this risk as potentially 
devastating as the threat of genetic erosion. Such an introduction has 
not yet occurred and, as such, we do not consider predation by rats to 
be a factor endangering the species.

Summary of Factor C

    Predation by native hawks and feral cats does not appear to be the 
primary factor causing this species' decline at this time. However, in 
combination with the threat from habitat degradation (Factor A) and the 
species' small population size (Factor E), predation is contributing to 
the endangerment of the species.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental 
Protection was enacted on March 1, 1988, and was amended by Decree 
published December 13, 1996, and another Decree published January 7, 
2000 (General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental 
Protection 2000). This law and its amendments: (1) Established the 
authority to designate protected natural areas to safeguard the genetic 
diversity of wild species and to preserve species that are in danger of 
extinction, are threatened endemics, or are rare, and those that need 
special protection (Article 45); (2) prohibit hunting or exploitation 
of species within core areas of biosphere reserves (Article 70); (3) 
specify that use of natural resources in habitats for endemic, 
threatened, or endangered species must be done in a manner that does 
not alter the conditions necessary for their survival, development, and 
evolution (Article 83); (4) prohibit the unpermitted use of threatened 
and endangered species (Article 87); and (5) stipulate penalties for 
violation, including fines equivalent to 20 to 20,000 days of the 
general minimum wage effective in the Federal District at the time the 
sanction is imposed, confiscation of instruments related to violations, 
suspension or revocation of permits, and administrative arrest for up 
to 36 hours (Article 171). While this overarching environmental law 
aims to protect threatened and endangered species, there are no 
specific provisions in the law that address the threats to the Socorro 
mockingbird (i.e., habitat degradation from introduced mammals, habitat 
destruction (Factor A), and predation (Factor C)).
    According to the national legislation NOM-059-ECOL-2001, the 
species is categorized as ``Peligro,'' meaning it is in danger of 
extinction (H. Benitez Diaz in litt. February 2007). Under Mexico's 
Wildlife Law (Ley General De Vida Silvestre 2002), it is illegal to 
kill, possess, transport, or trade in species in danger of extinction 
without a permit (Article 122). As overutilization is not a threat to 
the viability of the species, this regulation is of little consequence 
to the viability of the Socorro mockingbird.
    On June 4, 1994, the Mexican government established the 
Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve and declared it to be a 
Protected Natural Area (Revillagigedo Archipelago Decree 1994). This 
reserve included the entire island of Socorro and established the 
following protections: (1) Formulation of a management plan that sets 
specific objectives for the reserve (Articles 2 and 3), (2) ban on 
construction inside core areas of the reserve (which includes the 
entire island of Socorro) (Article 4), (3) requirement of an 
environmental impact statement for construction in the buffer zones of 
the reserve, (4) ban on the establishment of new human settlements 
within the reserve (Article 7), (5) establishment of a ``closed 
season'' on all plants and animals in the reserve (Article 9), (6) 
prohibition on the dumping or discharge of contaminants (Article 11), 
and (7) limit on recreational activities to those identified in the 
management plan for the reserve (Article 15). According to the Comision 
Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (n.d.), a management plan has 
been drafted and is in the process of being published. Management

[[Page 3177]]

recommendations include: Eradicate cats and sheep from the island; 
restore the soil and vegetation; and establish a research monitoring 
station, especially to monitor the population before and after 
eradications (BLI 2007f). If this management plan is finalized and 
enacted, this regulatory mechanism has the potential to reduce or 
remove threats to habitat and from predation and could ultimately 
result in the recovery of the species. However, based on the best 
available information at this time, we have no assurances that the 
management plan will be completed, implemented, and effective. 
Therefore, this regulatory mechanism is inadequate in reducing the 
threats to this species.

Summary of Factor D

    Regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to reduce the threats to the 
species, habitat destruction (Factor A) and predation (Factor C). As 
such, we believe that the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms is a 
contributory risk factor that endangers the species.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence 
of the Species

    Three additional factors are considered herein, genetic risks 
associated with small population sizes, hybridization, and threats from 
stochastic events.
    Genetic risks associated with small population sizes: The small 
estimated size of the population, between 298 and 408 individuals 
(Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez & Curry 1996) exposes this species to any 
of several risks, including inbreeding depression, loss of genetic 
variation, and accumulation of new mutations. Inbreeding can have 
individual or population-level consequences either by increasing the 
phenotypic expression of recessive, deleterious alleles or by reducing 
the overall fitness of individuals in the population (Charlesworth & 
Charlesworth 1987). Small, isolated populations of wildlife species are 
also susceptible to demographic problems (Shaffer 1981), which may 
include reduced reproductive success of individuals and chance 
disequilibrium of sex ratios. In the absence of more species-specific 
life history data, a general approximation of minimum viable population 
sizes is referred to as the 50 / 500 rule (Soul[eacute] 1980; Hunter 
1996), as described under Factor E for the black stilt. The available 
information indicates that the population of the Socorro mockingbird 
may be as small as 298 birds (J. Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez in litt. 
via CONABIO February 2007); this is above the minimum effective 
population size required to avoid risks from inbreeding (Ne 
= 50). However, the upper limit of the population estimate of no more 
than 408 birds (J. Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez in litt. via CONABIO 
February 2007) is near the upper threshold for Ne = 500). 
Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez (2002) notes that the species currently 
exhibits a positive reproductive rate, but that demographic problems 
will ensue for this species within the next 20 to 30 years, should 
habitat degradation continue. We conclude that, combined with the 
threats from habitat destruction (Factor A) and predation (Factor C), 
this population is vulnerable to genetic risks associated with small 
population sizes that negatively impact the species' long-term 
    Hybridization: In addition, the potential for the Socorro 
mockingbird to hybridize with the northern mockingbird (Mimus 
polyglottos) was brought to our attention by Dr. Curry (in litt. 
February 2007). The northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) arrived on 
the Island in 1978, either naturally or transported by Naval personnel 
(Curry in litt. February 2007), and its population has steadily 
increased (Jehl & Parkes 1983). Jehl and Parkes (1983) showed that the 
northern mockingbird's habitat requirements are different from those of 
the Socorro mockingbird and the northern mockingbird, concluding that 
the northern mockingbird is not competitively excluding the Socorro 
mockingbird. They found that the northern mockingbird's success on the 
island was due to its ability to adapt to the island's degraded 
habitat. However, it was recently determined that the northern 
mockingbird is genetically most closely related to the Socorro 
mockingbird (Arbogast et al. 2006; Barber et al. 2004), which increases 
the possibility that the two species are capable of hybridizing (R. 
Curry in litt. February 2007). In addition, Baptista and 
Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez (2002) noted that song development in 
Socorro mockingbird may be being influenced by contact with northern 
mockingbirds. Interspecific mimicry could facilitate hybridization 
through sexual misimprinting (R. Curry in litt. February 2007).
    We recognize that hybridization can lead to genetic dilution and 
other genetic risks that undermine the genetic integrity of a species. 
There is currently no evidence that hybridization has occurred between 
the Socorro mockingbird and the northern mockingbird. As such, we do 
not consider this a current factor endangering the species.
    Threats from stochastic events: Socorro Island is situated in a 
zone with a high probability of being in the trajectory of cyclones 
from the Pacific northeast, which form during the months of May to 
October. Since 1958, 77 hurricanes and eight tropical storms have hit 
the Island chain (Comisi[oacute]n Nacional de [Aacute]reas Naturales 
Protegidas (CONANP) n.d.). In 1997, Hurricane Linda came within 46 mi 
(74 km; 40 nautical miles (nm)) of the island, where it reportedly 
``wreaked havoc'' (Wirth 1998). At 160 knots, it was the strongest 
hurricane recorded in the Pacific since recordkeeping began in 1949 
(Lawrence 1999).
    Socorro Island is a volcanic island. The most recent eruption of 
Mt. Evermann occurred in 1993, from an underwater vent off the 
southwest coast. Regular volcanic activity continues throughout the 
Island from fumaroles and hydrothermal vents (Bulletin of the Global 
Volcanism Network 1993). The last major volcanic eruption on Socorro 
Island occurred in 1948 (CONANP n.d.) and, according to Trombley 
(2007), the next is expected in 2014. An eruption in 1952 on San 
Benedicto decimated the native flora and fauna on that island 
(Mart[iacute]nez-G[oacute]mez 2002).
    Stochastic events, such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, could 
result in extensive mortalities from which the population may be unable 
to recover, leading to extinction. Increased population fragmentation 
in combination with these factors increases the likelihood of 
extinction of the species through a single stochastic event (Caughley 
1994; Charlesworth & Charlesworth 1987).

Summary of Factor E

    Combined with the population pressures caused by habitat loss 
(Factor A) and predation (Factor C), the Socorro mockingbird is subject 
to long-term genetic risks associated with its small population and 
compounded by the risk of stochastic events, such as cyclones or 
eruptions, severely reducing population numbers such that the species 
is unable to recover. We consider the species' small population size 
and threats from stochastic events threats that contribute to the 
endangerment of the species.

Conclusion and Determination for the Socorro Mockingbird

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the black stilt, above. We have determined that 
the species is in danger of extinction throughout all of its known 
range primarily due to ongoing threats

[[Page 3178]]

to its habitats (Factor A) and predation (Factor C), compounded by 
genetic risks to the species' long-term genetic viability and 
susceptibility to stochastic events due to risks associated small 
population sizes (Factor E). Furthermore, we have determined that the 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is a contributory risk 
factor that endangers the species' continued existence (Factor D). 
Therefore, we are determining endangered status for the Socorro 
mockingbird under the Act. Because we find that the Socorro mockingbird 
is endangered throughout all of its range, there is no reason to 
consider its status in any significant portion of its range.

Required Determinations

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness and 
encourages and results in conservation actions by Federal governments, 
private agencies and groups, and individuals.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, and as implemented by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 402, requires Federal agencies to evaluate 
their actions within the United States or on the high seas with respect 
to any species that is proposed or listed as endangered or threatened, 
and with respect to its critical habitat, if any is being designated. 
However, given that the black stilt, caerulean paradise-flycatcher, 
giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, Long-legged thicketbird, and Socorro 
mockingbird are not native to the United States, no critical habitat is 
being proposed for designation with this rule.
    Section 8(a) of the Act authorizes the provision of limited 
financial assistance for the development and management of programs 
that the Secretary of the Interior determines to be necessary or useful 
for the conservation of endangered species in foreign countries. 
Sections 8(b) and 8(c) of the Act authorize the Secretary to encourage 
conservation programs for foreign endangered species and to provide 
assistance for such programs in the form of personnel and the training 
of personnel.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
wildlife. As such, these prohibitions would be applicable to the black 
stilt, caerulean paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney's pitta, Long-
legged thicketbird, and Socorro mockingbird. These prohibitions, 
pursuant to 50 CFR 17.21, in part, make it illegal for any person 
subject to U.S. jurisdiction to ``take'' (includes harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or to attempt any of 
these) within the United States or upon the high seas; import or 
export; deliver, receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or 
foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity; or sell or offer 
for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any endangered wildlife 
species. It also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, 
transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken in violation 
of the Act. Certain exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State 
conservation agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife species under certain circumstances. 
Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.22. With regard 
to endangered wildlife, a permit may be issued for the following 
purposes: for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule does not contain any new collections of information 
that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The regulation will not impose new 
recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, 
individuals, businesses, or organizations. We may not conduct or 
sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in connection 
with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. A notice 
outlining our reasons for this determination was published in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

    A list of the references used to develop this final rule is 
available upon request (see ADDRESSES section).


    The primary author of this notice is the staff of the Division of 
Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES 

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

2. Amend 17.11(h) by adding new entries for ``Ibis, giant,'' 
``Mockingbird, Socorro,'' ``Paradise-flycatcher, caerulean,'' ``Pitta, 
Gurney's,'' ``Stilt, black,'' and ``Thicketbird, long-legged'' in 
alphabetical order under Birds, to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife as follows:

Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened

                                                                      * * * * * * *

[[Page 3179]]

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Ibis, giant......................  Pseudibis gigantea..  Cambodia, Lao PDR,   Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA
                                                          Thailand, Vietnam.

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Mockingbird, Socorro.............  Mimus Graysoni......  Mexico.............  Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Paradise-flycatcher, caerulean...  Eutrichomyias         Indonesia..........  Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pitta, Gurney's..................  Pitta gurneyi.......  Myanmar, Thailand..  Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Stilt, black.....................  Himantopus            New Zealand........  Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *
Thicketbird, long-legged.........  Trichocichla rufa...  Fiji...............  Entire.............  E                       760           NA           NA

                                                                      * * * * * * *

    Dated: January 7, 2008.
Kenneth Stansell,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-492 Filed 1-15-08; 8:45 am]