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Global warming, Development Causing Waterbird Populations to Decline

by: The Associated Press    24 January 2007

BANGKOK, Thailand -- A global survey reports that nearly half of the world's waterbird species are in decline, blaming it mostly on rapid economic development and the effects of climate change.

The fourth Waterbird Population Estimate says 44 percent of the 900 species globally have fallen in the past five years, while 34 percent were stable, and 17 percent rising. Altogether, 12 families of birds have half or more of their global populations showing a decreasing trend.

The worst decreases occurred in Asia, where 62 percent of the waterbird populations had declined or become extinct. That was followed by a 48 percent decline in Africa, 45 percent in Oceania, 42 percent in South America, 41 percent in Europe and 37 percent in North America.

The survey represents about 50-thousand hours of field work in 100 countries.