Billions of animals move regularly every year. Between the migratory species There are some of the most iconic in the world, such as sea turtles, whales and sharks of the oceans; the elephants, wild cats and herds of hoofed mammals that travel daily across plains and deserts; birds of prey, and other aquatic and songbirds that fly through the skies, and even insects like the monarch butterfly.” A United Nations (UN) report reveals the enormous danger faced by all migratory species, indicators of environmental change. So much so that one in five are in danger of extinction.
“Migratory species are a common natural treasure and their survival and conservation are the responsibility of everyone, regardless of national borders,” states the report “State of the world’s migratory species”, published by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).
The main conclusion of the study is that the general conservation status of migratory species is deteriorating. The species included in the CMS protection lists, despite showing progress, reflect this more general trend.
The conservation needs and the threats facing migratory species must be addressed “more effectively, on a larger scale and with renewed determination,” the report states.
Specifically, the authors consider it necessary to take “urgent measures” to prevent the extinction of species classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ and ‘Endangered’, which represents a considerable part of all marine and freshwater fish species (79%) and sea turtles (43%) that are listed by CMS.
Overexploitation, the greatest threat
The report also highlights the existence of 399 threatened species not currently included in the Convention that require special attentionsince they do not yet benefit from the international protection granted by the Convention.
Among the most surprising results, Overexploitation is the greatest threat to many migratory species, surpassing even habitat loss and fragmentation..
Overexploitation includes the capture of wild populations through intentional extraction from their natural environment, such as hunting and fishing, as well as the incidental capture of non-target species. In fact, Bycatch of non-target species is a major cause of mortality for many marine species. included in the CMS lists.
“Habitat loss, fragmentation and obstacles to migratory movements continue to be the main threats facing migratory species“, states the text. Globally, although 49% of the sites already identified as key for species included in the CMS are subject to some level of protection, many key sites have not yet been mapped.
This information is crucial for the adoption of effective conservation measures based on the area and for full compliance with the protection measures of migratory species related to investments in infrastructure and other economic activities.
On the other hand, among the key sites for species included in the CMS lists that have been identified, more than half face unsustainable situations due to human impact. Other critical threats to migratory species are light and noise pollutionhe climate change and the invasive species.
Among the most important measures to be adopted, according to the authors of the report, are: “Redouble efforts to fight against unsustainable and illegal capture of migratory species on a national scale; drastically reduce bycatch and bycatch; identify all key sites for migratory species and take measures to protect or conserve them.
The authors claim International cooperation to stop the decline in populations of migratory species and highlight the need to act urgently.
Within the CMS framework, a large number of collaborative projects are already underway, examples of which are two intergovernmental working groups to address the illegal killing, capture and trade of migratory birdsas well as multilateral initiatives to ensure the long-term survival of migratory mammals in Central Asia and carnivores in Africa.
But they emphasize that These efforts must be “strengthened and expanded” to stop the decline of migratory species and promote the recovery of populations and their habitats.. “This should include actions to identify additional key sites for migratory species and to better understand the threats they face; ensure that these sites are internationally recognized and effectively protected and conserved; and that they are well connected and, where necessary, restored , to realize its full ecological potential,” the document states.
All of this will be “crucial” for help migratory birds adapt to climate change and to effectively address the biodiversity crisis, the authors state.
“The good news is that, although some important data gaps remain, the main drivers of population decline and species loss are known, as are the solutions,” they conclude.
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