Australia — A team of conservation scientists stepped out of a military helicopter on the east coast of Victoria. Standing on an active fireground, they had their mission in their mind — to evacuate 15-20 bristlebirds to Melbourne Zoo. Rescuing this many bristlebirds “would provide an insurance population of this globally endangered species if their habitat was razed by the approaching fire.”
As climate change grows ever worse, such rescues will be more common. Ours showed how it can be done.
Such a rescue may seem like a lot of effort for a small, plain brown bird. But eastern bristlebirds are important to Australia’s biodiversity.
These days, coastal development has shrunk the eastern bristlebird’s habitat. The birds are feeble flyers, and so populations die out when their habitat patches become too small.
Fewer than 2,500 individuals remain, spread across three locations on Australia’s east coast including a 400-strong population that straddles the Victoria-New South Wales border at Cape Howe. Losing them would be a huge blow to the species’ long term prospects.
This is why the rescue was necessary.
More details about this over at The Conversation.
(Image Credit: JJ Harrison/ Wikimedia Commons)