Most important driver for bird extinctions since 1500

The following is shared via Birdlife International:

Invasive species were the most important driver of bird extinctions since 1500, being implicated in almost half of cases. Predation by introduced rats and cats and disease caused by introduced pathogens have been the most important impacts.

•Humans have been transporting animals and plants from one part of the world to another for thousands of years, sometimes deliberately as in the case of livestock, and companion animals such as cats and dogs and sometimes accidentally (for example rats escaping from boats). Often introduced species fail to establish themselves in the wild in new locations. However, a proportion thrives and spread. Such ‘invasive alien species’ may have catastrophic impacts on local fauna and flora. Invasive species can affect native ones by eating them, competing with them, hybridising with them, disrupting or destroying their habitat or, in the case of pathogens or parasites, by sickening or killing them. Over the last five hundred years, invasive alien species have been partly or wholly responsible for the extinction of at least 65 bird species, making this the most common contributory factor in recent losses to the world’s avifauna.

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Picture by David Mudge.



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