1 in 10 bird species could vanish within 100 years USA TODAY
By 2100, about 10% of all bird species probably will be extinct, killed off by habitat loss, hunting and climate change, conservation biologists estimate.
"We are changing the world so much that even birds cannot adapt," says biologist Cagan Sekercioglu of Stanford University, who led the extinction analysis.
Roughly 1,200 bird species, about 12% of the total, are threatened with extinction. A "critically endangered" 179 of those species face an extremely high risk of immediate disappearance. Last month, for example, the last known Hawaiian po'ouli bird died.
The first-time analysis looks further into the future than recent estimates of bird extinctions, adding to concerns about lost biodiversity among species.
Released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the report extrapolates extinction trends among birds since 1994. Sekercioglu and colleagues analyzed the 9,916 registered bird species, looking ahead a century at extinction prospects under three scenarios:
•Status quo. Assuming that "threatened" bird species become threatened and extinct at present rates, 1 in 10 species will disappear.
•Best-case. Assuming no more species will move to the "threatened" category, about 1 in 17 species will die off.
•Worst-case. Assuming "threatened" rates increase by 1% each decade, nearly 1 in 6 bird species will become extinct.
Various factors drive the extinctions seen in the study, including:
• Fragmentation and destruction of bird habitat.
• Hunting and collecting of rare birds for the pet trade.
• Introduction of foreign species, typically cats, rats or mongooses that prey on isolated species
• Climate changes that alter the habitat of a species' home range.
"Our study shows there are things we can do" to reduce extinctions, Sekercioglu says, from expanding habitat by connecting parks to promoting ecotourism, so local people preserve, rather than hunt, rare birds.