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Migratory waterbirds waning in numbers

world Updated: Sep 17, 2008 12:15 IST

PTI
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Migratory waterbird travelling across Africa and Eurasia has recorded more than 40 per cent plunge in its population owing to habitat destruction and wetlands exploitation, a United Nations-backed report has said.

The report, prepared for a meeting under way in Antananarivo, Madagascar, of the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), said that the figure is even higher at 55 per cent in Western and Central Asia.

Despite varying causes behind the decline in these populations, the most frequent source is habitat destruction and wetlands exploitation, both often spurred by unsustainable human activity, according to the report.

Its findings are "a clear signal that both national and international efforts to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats need to be significantly increased," said Bert Lenten, AEWA's Executive Secretary.

Waterbirds, who must travel up to thousands of kilometres to complete their breeding cycles, are extremely vulnerable to changes in the environment.