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Survey finds rare bird sandpiper on brink of extinction
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14:41, October 12, 2007

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Survey found the numbers of spoon-billed sandpiper has dropped dramatically and the rare bird that breeds in a remote Russian province is facing extinction, media reported Friday.

Experts from the Britain-based conservation group BirdLife International blamed the decline of breeding pairs in Chukotka province in Russia on loss of key feeding sites during their migration from Russia to its wintering grounds in South Asia.

The bird is also fighting a losing battle at its Russian breeding grounds against foxes and dogs that eat the eggs, the group said.

"We've seen a 70 percent drop in the number of breeding pairs at some sites over the last couple of years," said expert Evgeny Syroechkovskiy. "If that continues, these amazing birds won't be around for much longer."

The World Conservation Union listed the bird as endangered with only 200 to 300 pairs left in the wild.

Syroechkovskiy said Russian authorities need to do more to protect the birds, including boosting patrols where the birds nest. The wading birds are hard to miss, with their red head, speckled body and spoon-shaped bills.

"Once they are protected and the birds are successfully fledging young, we can get on with the task of trying to save areas that they use whilst on migration," Syroechkovskiy said.

Source: Xinhua/Agencies

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