Despite a few high-profile conservation success stories—like the dramatic comeback of bald eagle populations in North America—birds of prey are in decline worldwide. A new analysis of data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International found that 30% of 557 raptor species worldwide are considered near threatened, vulnerable or endangered or critically endangered. Eighteen species are critically endangered, including the Philippine eagle, the hooded vulture and the Annobon scops owl, the researchers found. Other species are in danger of becoming locally extinct in specific regions, meaning they may no longer play critical roles as top predators in those ecosystems, said Gerardo Ceballos, a bird scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and co-author of the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The golden eagle is the national bird of Mexico, but we have very few golden eagles left in Mexico,” he said. A 2016 census estimated only about 100 breeding pairs remain in the country.
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