Monday, March 23, 2009

Nearly a third of U.S. bird species in trouble

From: Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly one-third of all U.S. bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, with birds in Hawaii facing a "borderline ecological disaster," scientists reported on Thursday.

The State of the Birds report, issued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar along with conservation groups and university ornithologists, also noted some successes, including the recovery of the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon and other species after the banning of the chemical DDT.

"When we talk about birds and we talk about wildlife, we're also talking about the economics of this country," Salazar told reporters as the report was released.

Wildlife watching and recreation generate $122 billion annually, the report saidSalazar mentioned revenue from hunting, fishing and bird-watching, but added that President Barack Obama's stimulus package and proposed federal budgets for the remainder of 2009 and 2010 offer more money for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which aims to protect birds and other creatures.

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