Saturday, November 20, 2004

Indonesia's Birds of Paradise Dying Out, Scientist Says

November 18, 2004 — By Karishm Vyas, Reuters

BANGKOK - Rampant illegal logging in Indonesia and the demands of a rapidly expanding population and economy in Indonesia are killing many of Asia's most exotic and rare birds, conservationists said on Thursday.

Birdlife Asia estimates that the sprawling southeast Asian archipelago is home to more than a third of Asia's endangered avian species, the highest concentration in the region.

"Bird species across the Asian region are in serious trouble," said Richard Grimmett, the head of Birdlife Asia. "Of the 332 species of birds that are endangered in Asia, Indonesia alone has some 117 species."

Speaking at a press briefing during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, Grimmett said the world could not afford to lose Indonesia's unique ecosystem.

Conservationists estimate that species like the sky-blue Caerulean Paradise-flycatcher and the Sangihe Shrike-thrush, are unique to the tropical islands of southeast Asia and cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.

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