Thursday, 19 April 2012

Critically Endangered Grenada dove gets a lifeline

100 acres protected for Grenada dove - Courtesy of Birdlife
April 2012. In August 2011, the Government of Grenada's Cabinet approved the protection of the last piece of government-owned Grenada Dove habitat through the addition of approximately 100 acres (c.40 ha) of the Beausejour Estate to the adjacent Perseverance Protected Area and Dove Sanctuary. This extremely positive move towards the conservation of Grenada's national bird - the Critically Endangered Grenada Dove - now requires a survey and then legal designation by the Grenadian Parliament.

Just 132 birds known alive
Grenada Dove is endemic to the island and is clinging onto survival with a population estimated at just 132 individuals. The bird's extremely small population has declined due to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by habitat clearance for residential housing, roads and other developments, hurricanes, fire, grazing pressure and predation by invasive species.

According to Bonnie Rusk of the Grenada Dove Conservation Program and the BirdLife Species Guardian, "the Grenada Dove population is clearly tied to the availability of suitable habitat, which continues to decline. Without adequate habitat protection now, the population will quickly decline towards extinction".

Grenada, at the 8th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CBD (COP 8), pledged to effectively conserve at least 25% of its marine and terrestrial ecosystems by 2020 (the Grenada Declaration). In 2010, the Government of Grenada's Cabinet approved the new System Plan for Parks and Protected Areas to help meet this obligation. Grenada's six IBAs, four of which are identified as critical habitat of the Grenada Dove, are included in this System Plan.

With the Government's protection of the crown lands at Beausejour Estate - which supports 40% of the west coast Grenada Dove population - all remaining dove habitat is on private lands. The newly-protected area at Beausejour includes land suitable for reforestation and habitat creation, and provides a protected corridor to the adjacent Perseverance Protected Area and Dove Sanctuary.

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