Many of Africa’s large birds of prey are at risk of extinction

African raptors are under increased and dire threat from human expansion
African raptors are under increased and dire threat from human expansion. Image: MikeB

A brand-new study published on January 4, 2024, reports on the threat to “raptors” (birds of prey – predators) on the African continent due to the following facts:

  • The relatively slow breeding apex predators and scavengers
  • Habitat conversion
  • Prey-based depletion and persecution
  • The latter two items being driven by human population expansion on the African continent.

The bottom line is that when you get an increase in human population in a certain area you also get increased human activity and in this instance habitat conversion to farmland and numerous other effects from human population growth which pushes out wildlife leading, ultimately, to the threat of their extinction on the African continent.

The study describes multiregional trends among 42 African raptor species, 88% of which have declined over a 20-40 year period.

69% of the species are considered to be at risk of extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

The report says that the large raptors have experienced much greater declines in numbers than smaller species. The difference between larger and smaller species is more pronounced on unprotected land.

The declines in raptor species were greater in West Africa than elsewhere. And were more than twice as severe outside of protected areas them within protected areas.

The report suggest that there is a need to expand conservation areas i.e. protected areas to cover 30% of land by 2030 which is a key target agreed by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Cop 15.

The report’s findings highlight the significance of a recent African-led proposal to strengthen protected area management. This is an initiative which is considered fundamental to “safeguarding global biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and climate resilience” in the words of the study scientists.

RELATED: $1 million of endangered birds of prey bound for Middle East seized in Pakistan

The loss of these top creditors will have a cascading effect within the ecosystems.

These large birds of prey sometimes hunt relatively large animals such as jackals and the small antelopes.

Dr. Phil Shaw, the study’s lead scientist and author at the University of St Andrews said: “We find that [while] protected areas do provide a good measure of protection, it’s still the case that raptors are declining within protected areas – quite steeply in some cases.

He added: “We’ve looked at 42 species of raptors that also include the vulture species. We find that surprisingly, many of the larger raptors have been declining at an equally fast rate as the vultures. In the case of the vultures, it’s fairly clear cut that they provide an ecosystem service by removing carcasses. We’ve seen what happened in India when they had a similar population crash for different reasons. It led to an increase in the number of feral dogs, particularly in built-up areas … That led to a huge increase among the human population of rabies, passed on by bites from the dogs.”

Study citation: Shaw, P., Ogada, D., Dunn, L. et al. African savanna raptors show evidence of widespread population collapse and a growing dependence on protected areas. Nat Ecol Evol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02236-0

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful Note: I will donate 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment made over the next three months on pages where comments can be made.
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Birds > birds of prey