WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Migratory species globally are facing critical challenges, with nearly half in decline and more than 20 per cent threatened with extinction, a landmark UN report points out.
Of most concern is the threat to migratory fish, with 97 per cent of the species on the brink of extinction.
The two greatest threats to all migratory species are over-exploitation and habitat loss due to human activity, according to the first-ever State of the World's Migratory Species report released on Monday.
Amy Fraenkel, head of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) secretariat, highlighted the importance of specific habitats.
'They regularly travel, sometimes thousands of miles, to reach these places. They face enormous challenges and threats along the way, as well at their destinations where they breed or feed,' she said.
A first of its kind study was prepared by conservation scientists at the UN Environment Program (UNEP) for the CMS, as its State parties gathered for a major conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The impacts of climate change on biodiversity are expected to rise considerably in the coming decades, the report noted, explaining that changing temperatures can cause migratory species to arrive too early, too late, or not at all.
While highlighting the concerning situation of many species, the report also shows that population and species-wide recoveries are possible, provided there is strong coordinated action at all levels.
Success stories include a bounce back for bird populations in Cyprus thanks to concerted local action to outlaw illegal bird netting, and integrated conservation and restoration work in Kazakhstan, which brought the Saiga Antelope back from the verge of extinction.
The report highlighted a clear call to action, providing a set of priority recommendations.
This will be discussed at the 14th Conference of the States Parties to the CMS, which commenced on Monday in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The week-long event will see governments, along with wildlife organizations and scientists joining forces to advance implementation of the Convention.
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