Jamaica: rare birds threatened by bauxite mining


Black-billed amazonFrom BirdLife:

Bauxite mining threatens unique Jamaican wildlife

23-10-2006

Jamaica’s Cockpit Country, around 450 km² of uninhabited moist tropical limestone forest with its extraordinary landscape of peaks, potholes and caves, and home to 27 of Jamaica’s 28 endemic bird species is at risk from bauxite mining.

Under licences already granted, mining companies have begun drilling for bauxite samples, the raw material for aluminium, to meet the world’s rapidly escalating demand for this valuable metal.

Conservationists in Jamaica are concerned that despite its international importance, the fate of the Cockpit Country is likely to go unnoticed by the rest of the world. …

Jamaica is recognised internationally for its high levels of endemism and is part of the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot.

Jamaica’s endemics include 828 flowering plants, 505 land snails, 21 amphibians and 34 reptiles, five bats and 20 butterflies.

Some of these—including two amphibians, two reptiles, and 65 plants—are found only in Cockpit Country.

It is likely that the sole viable population of the endemic, globally Endangered giant swallowtail, is confined to Cockpit Country.

Up to 95 percent of the world’s Black-billed Amazon Amazona agilis—one of two threatened endemic Jamaican parrots—live in Cockpit Country, which is also home to the Endangered Jamaican Blackbird Nesopsar nigerrimus.

This species forages mostly on bromeliads—epiphytic plants growing on the branches of trees.

But bromeliads are especially vulnerable to forest fragmentation and caustic dust from mining.

If production of these moronic military aircraft, which just kill and maim people, would stop, the need for bauxite would drop drastically.

Cockpit Country is recognized nationally and internationally as a habitat for more than 60 threatened species, making it one of the highest-ranked Important Bird Areas and Key Biodiversity Areas in Jamaica and the Caribbean. It is also important for its cultural heritage associated with the indigenous Maroons, and for the ecosystem services it provides. Four watersheds derive their source waters from Cockpit Country and together these watersheds support diverse habitats of moist, dry, and mangrove forests for migratory and resident birds: here.

The Hope Botanic Gardens in Kingston are a great spot to begin a birding getaway to this Caribbean nation or just for a quick visit during a business trip or family vacation. The urban setting provides a vastly different experience than other Jamaican birding destinations, but the variety of birds and the beauty of the gardens makes it well worthwhile: here.

Scotland: birds threatened by rich illegal collector.

9 thoughts on “Jamaica: rare birds threatened by bauxite mining

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  6. Jamaica Birding and Nature Tour Announced by Naturalist Journeys

    Jamaica, with more endemic birds than any island in the region, is featured in this February tour showcasing Jamaica’s natural history.

    New York, NY (PRWEB) October 31, 2013

    Birdwatchers, such as those on Naturalist Journeys’ recently announced February 22-28 guided group birding tour, experience a very different Jamaica than those who visit the island for a beach stay, never straying far from all-inclusive resorts. Jamaica offers nature enthusiasts a rich mountainous landscape with habitats differing across ascending elevations. Quiet roads and forest trails allow access for birders to catalog the twenty-five plus species found nowhere else in the world. As part of the British Commonwealth, Jamaica has a long tradition of birdwatching. The Jamaican Bird Club, known as BirdLife Jamaica, has existed since the 1950’s. This not-for-profit membership organization started as the Grosse Bird Club. It publishes the journal “The Broadsheet” and keeps records of unusual sightings.

    Of all the islands of the Caribbean, Jamaica and Cuba claim the highest number of endemic bird species. Each has a tody, an emerald green feathered-gem not much larger than a hummingbird. Only five tody species exist in the world, all found in the Caribbean. A visit to Jamaica rivals the intrigue birders find in going to the Galapagos. Naturalist Journeys owner Peg Abbott developed the tour, along with others to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago to showcase the region’s biological legacy. She says, “Few people, even devoted birdwatchers, realize that Caribbean bird biodiversity exceeds that of the Galapagos Islands, showing patterns of adaptive radiation across numerous species, with endemism occurring all the way to the family level with the todies and the Palmchat of the Dominican Republic.”

    More on the Jamaica Nature and Birding Tour

    Naturalist Journeys’ tour begins and ends in Kingston, Jamaica, and participants have the option to come in early to see highlights of the city, including extensive tropical plant collections at the Hope Botanical Garden. The tour is limited to 12 participants. For more information, visit Naturalist Journeys’ website.

    More on Naturalist Journeys

    Naturalist Journeys LLC, a top birding and nature tour company, offers specialty small group tours and travel worldwide, from the western U.S. to Alaska, Hawaii and Florida, Costa Rica, Panama, safaris in Africa and more. Naturalist Journey’s guided nature and birding tours feature expert guides with decades of experience in birdwatching, travel photography and other forms of eco-tourism. Naturalist Journeys also offers hiking and adventure travel tours in many national parks and wildlife reserves, including the Galapagos, Antarctica and the Amazon.

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