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. UNEP sounds alarm over decline in migratory birds

by Staff Writers
Nairobi (AFP) May 8, 2008
The United Nations Environment Programme on Thursday voiced concern over declining numbers of migratory birds globally, in what it said was an alarming sign of the state of world biodiversity.

"The decline in numbers is currently being recorded for many of the migratory bird species along all of the world's major flyways," UNEP said in a statement issued ahead of the May 10-11 World Migratory Bird Day.

"For example: 41 percent of the 522 migratory waterbird populations on the African-Eurasian flyways are declining and there are reports that numbers of migratory songbirds using the same flyways are also decreasing," it said.

Migratory birds are vulnerable to environmental changes and are considered some of the best indicators of the state of the world's ecosystems.

"The overall decline in bird numbers may be signalling a wider environmental problem linked to the loss of habitats and biodiversity worldwide," the statement said.

It added that this phenomenon was compounded by climate change, which has seen deserts expand and wetlands disappear.

The environment agency urged world leaders to step up efforts aimed at protecting sites used by migratory birds in a move that would benefit the planet's wider biodiversity.

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US authorities close campsites amid beetle fears
Salmon, Idaho (AFP) May 5, 2008
A small beetle wreaking havoc on forests in the western United States has prompted authorities to shut down a host of campgrounds for the summer amid fears that ravaged trees could topple over.

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