Peregrine Falcons, or Falco peregrinus, are known as ‘the fastest birds on Earth,’ with record stoop speeds of 322 km/h. Their hooked claws and swiftness make them fierce hunters, able to catch prey six times their body weight[i].
In the 1960s and 70s, pesticide contamination led to eggshell breakages and adult and embryo deaths, resulting in a severe decline in the number of Peregrine Falcons.
Yet changes in agriculture policies, policies to reintroduce the falcons and improved protection have helped the falcon soar again. Their European population is now estimated at 14,900-28,800 pairs, which equates to 29,700- 57,600 mature individuals[ii].
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) also represents a conservation success story as in 2014, Europe’s once rarest mammal species was moved by IUCN from “critically endangered” to “endangered”, as the population showed signs of recovery.
Let’s hope that these examples can spur others in our region.
Countries between 2nd and 17th December are meeting at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 13th Conference of the Parties in Cancún, Mexico to fight biodiversity decline, which is continuing in the pan-European region and worldwide.
Over three quarters of people in an EU-28 survey very much agree that it is important to halt species loss, seeing it as a moral obligation.
If this interests you, find out more on p.78, 86, 226 and in chapter 2.4 of the sixth Global Environment Outlook report for the pan-European region.
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[ii] Birdlife International, 2015