Two Whimbrels tracked by Scientist from a University have been shot by hunters on the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe,highlighting the continuing lack of protection for migratory shorebirds In this Important part of their flyway.
Scientists at the Center for Conservation Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University were using satellite technology to follow the WHIMBRELS,known as "MACH and GOSHEN".
The birds were not migrating together,but both stopped on the Island on the morning of 12 September,after encountering different storm systems.
"GOSHEN" flew through the east side of Hurricane Iren;landed on Montserrat,spent a week on Antigua and then flew to Guadeloupe,"Machi" flew though Tropical Storm Maria and landed on Montserrat before flying directly to Guadeloupe.
The two birds were the first of the 17 Whimbrels followed by the four tear tracking study to stop on Guadeloupe,and both were lost within hours of arriving,suggesting that hunting pressure on this Island Is extremely high.
Guadeloupe has several Isolated mangrove swamps that serve to concentrate the shorebirds for shooting. An estimated 3.000 hunters participate In the shorebird hunt annually.
Currently,shooting parties on the Island are not regulated,and no Information Is available on the numbers of shorebirds taken.
Without such Information It Is not possible to assess the potential relationship between hunting and ongoing population declines. The number of Whimbrels migrating along the westrn Atlantic coast has fallen by 50% since the mid 1990.
Guadeloupe Is an overseas department of France,with representation in the French and European parliament.But In common with other French,and British and Netherlands overseas departements and territories In the Caribbean,It Is not covers by the European pillars of biodiversity conservation,namely the Birds and Habitats Directives and the nature 2000 network.
The French overseas entities around the wold are home to more endemic birds than all of continental Europe,and the lack of regulation,investment and training In conservation has In part led to France having the seventh highest number of globally threatened birds of any country In the world.
Most of the migratory shorebirds species breeding In eastern North America and the Arctic pass over the Caribbean region during late August,September.
When they encounter severe storms,the birds use the Islands as refuges before moving on to their final destinations.
Hunting clubs take advantage of the events to shoot large numbers of the birds.
Having weathered Tropical Storm Maria,"Machi made a brief landfall on Montserrat before flying on to Guadeloupe,where he landed In a shooting marsh operated by hunters.
The shooting of Machi In Guadeloupe highlights the urgent need for updated hunting regulations In the French West Indies and Barbados... lets hope some day this will come true....
Birds are born to travel let us protect them
See also http://birdwatching.forumotion.com
Go Birdwatching save the birds.