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HomeARM ARTICLESAlarming Decline of African Raptors: Urgent Conservation Measures Needed to Safeguard Ecosystems

Alarming Decline of African Raptors: Urgent Conservation Measures Needed to Safeguard Ecosystems

Crisis in the Skies: African Raptors Facing Extinction - Act Now to Save Our Ecosystems! 🦅🌍 #RaptorConservation #BiodiversityEmergency

Silhouettes of raptors once dominated African skies, but a comprehensive study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Ecology & Evolution reveals a staggering decline in 88% of the 42 African raptor species surveyed over the past 20 to 40 years. Conducted across sub-Saharan regions, the study indicates that 69% of these species are now more endangered or meet criteria for being threatened with extinction, sounding a critical alarm for conservation efforts.

Darcy Ogada, the African program director at the Peregrine Fund and co-author of the study, emphasizes that these declines are observed in iconic species crucial for the continent’s ecosystems. Raptors play vital ecological roles as both apex predators and scavengers, regulating species populations and recycling nutrients. Losing these species could have profound impacts on the entire ecosystem.

Unraveling the Threats: Understanding the Multifaceted Factors Behind the Alarming Decline of African Raptors and the Urgent Need for Conservation Action

Factors contributing to the decline include habitat loss, poaching for food and ritual use, poisoning, electrocution, collisions with power lines and wind turbines, and climate change. Eagles and vultures are particularly vulnerable due to their long lifespans, slow breeding, and extensive range. The study also reveals significant population losses even within national parks, highlighting the existence of “paper parks,” where protections exist in name only.

The extent of the losses is alarming, with an estimated 85% decline in secretary birds and a 90% decline in martial eagles, emphasizing the severity of the situation. The study identifies habitat loss, environmental degradation, and other threats as reaching a tipping point, even affecting species categorized as “least concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

While only five species showed population increases, the researchers suspect that the situation might be even worse for the continent’s other 60-plus raptor species. Nocturnal species like owls, facing persecution out of superstition, and those inhabiting different ecosystems like forests and swamps are likely faring poorly as well.

Path to Preservation:

The study suggests the need for urgent action, including revising conservation statuses, engaging local communities in biodiversity conservation, protecting more land in areas of high biodiversity, and minimizing the impact of infrastructure development on birds. To address the crisis, the researchers launched the African Raptor Leadership Grant, an education and mentorship initiative aimed at involving more Africans in raptor research and conservation.

In conclusion, the decline of African raptors poses a significant threat to the continent’s ecosystems, necessitating immediate conservation efforts, community involvement, and strategic planning to protect these iconic species and the vital roles they play in maintaining ecological balance.


Cite this article as (APA format):

AR Managing Editor (2024). Alarming Decline of African Raptors: Urgent Conservation Measures Needed to Safeguard Ecosystems. Retrieved from


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