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Global petition demands Canada protect significant bird breeding habitat

Tuesday, April 29th 2008 9:07:10am

Global petition demands Canada protect significant bird breeding habitat

Grassroots initiative builds global momentum to save boreal forest


(Toronto, April 29, 2008) From Albania and India to Paraguay and Norway, people from 62 countries around the world have signed a petition demanding that Canadian provincial and federal governments act immediately to curb habitat destruction in the Canadian boreal forest. The petition also calls for conservation measures to protect the most significant breeding ground in the western hemisphere.

The Save Our Boreal Birds petition is a campaign of Ontario Nature, a leading conservation organization in Ontario with over 140 member groups and over 30,000 supporters, and the Boreal Songbird Initiative, a U.S. based bird conservation organization. With the help and support of partner nature organizations across Canada, Central and South America, the petition quickly spread across the continent and overseas.

“The boreal forest is unlike any other region on the planet. Billions of birds depend on it as a breeding ground and it is one of the few remaining untouched areas in the world. The decline of many bird populations is an early warning signal for Canadian political leaders that the boreal forest needs to be protected. They can’t wait any longer. Now is the time for action.” said Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature.

In Ontario alone, there are over 200 species and a quarter billion breeding birds that depend on Ontario’s boreal forest. The region is an important ecological refuge for birds and other animals including some of the last remaining large populations of woodland caribou, wolves, lynx and wolverines on earth. In recent years however, the encroachment of rapid and unchecked development in the mining and forestry sectors have dramatically impacted the area.

Last year NAFTA’s environmental watchdog, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, confirmed that more than 45,000 nests were destroyed in 2001 while recent breeding bird surveys have demonstrated population declines in flycatchers, Boreal Chickadees, Bay-breasted Warblers and Canada Warblers. “The Canada Warbler’s decline has been so significant that on April 25, 2008 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada listed it as Threatened species, joining a growing number of other Boreal species listed as at risk of extinction” said Schultz.

“Less than 12% of the boreal is permanently protected and already 30% has been allocated to industry. Canada has a tremendous opportunity to be a world leader in bird conservation by ensuring the critical boreal breeding grounds are protected.  Unfortunately, such leadership appears to be lacking despite our governments’ international commitments to conserve Canada’s biological diversity,” concluded Schultz.

Canadians are being asked to sign the Save Our Boreal Birds petition at www.saveourborealbirds.org to contribute to this global effort.

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The forests and wetlands of this region support billions of breeding birds each year--including several species that nest virtually nowhere else--earning the Boreal Forest the title of North America’s Bird Nursery. In addition, the vast peatlands in Canada’s Boreal Forest store enormous quantities of carbon, serving as an irreplaceable shield against increased global warming. Additional information and full press materials are available at http://www.saveourborealbirds.org/. B-Roll: Boreal Birds and Industrial Destruction Available.


For more information on the petition, the Boreal Forest or to arrange an interview, contact:

Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, 416-972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com

Ontario Nature
is a not-for profit that works to protect and restore natural habitats through research, education and conservation. It connects individuals and communities with nature through various conservation groups across the province (charitable registration # 10737 8592 RR0001). For more information, visit www.ontarionature.org.