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Swiss recovery programme shows increase in bird species

11/02/2013 18:15:15

Little owl numbers rebounded.

Little owl and hoopoe numbers boost - Courtesy of Birdlife
February 2013. Over the past ten years the population of Little Owl in Switzerland has increased after a sharp decline. Hoopoe has more than doubled and Corncrake has come back at the level of breeding species after almost reaching the level of extinction in the 1990's. These are some of the results of the Swiss Species Recovery Program for Birds.

This programme, which was launched in 2003 by SVS/BirdLife Switzerland together with the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Federal Office for the Environment, provides safe species-specific nesting sites and improves or creates habitats providing sufficient food. A common coordination unit is partly based in Zurich, at SVS/BirdLife Switzerland and in Sempach, at the Ornithological Institute.

At the beginning of the programme a sound analysis of the target species was made. Endangered species were only included if they were not naturally rare (e.g. at the edge of the breeding area). A next step was the implementation of an assessment measuring the sufficiency and relevancy of the existing conservation measures in habitats and sites for the conservation of these species, or if they needed additional measures. The result showed that 50 priority species were in need of specific measures, which would be targeted by the programme.

During the last ten years actions in the field have been carried out for 30 species and six official action plans were produced; the first ones designed for species conservation in Switzerland. The action plans should give the programme even more strength and extend its outcomes to more than 50 species.

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