Since 2003 International Bird Conservation Organizations state a shrinking population of Black-faced Spoonbills worldwide. During this year’s migratory season, the number of birds has been found to decrease by 10% compared to 2009.

Good Signs...
In the 1980s the species of Black-faced Spoonbills was still poorly known in the world. A decade, while the name is now widely known and talked about, there is only little time left to take action as the population has decreased dramatically.
Thanks to the warning of bird conservation organizations and international partners like the Chinese association of wild birds, the efforts to protect Black-faced Spoonbills have been promoted widely. The species was put on the Red list of endangered Species, numbers began to recover. Today, Black-faced Spoonbills are still in the conservation status of ‘endangered’, but there were times in the past they were ranked as ‘critically endangered’ which is just one step away from ‘extinct in the wild’.
Investigations by a Hong Kong-based association monitoring the bird migration season in the past counted a number of 2,346 Black-faced Spoonbills in this year, the number showing an increase by 10% compared to the previous year.
Black-faced Spoonbills in Xuan Thuy National Park


… but we mustn’t ignore

 ‘To completely escape the path to extinction, there are still many challenges ahead”, reminds Simba Chan, an expert of an international bird conservation organization in Asia. “Black-faced Spoonbills are dependent on tidal flats, but all trough Southeast Asia those flats are seriously endangered.”
The tendency of Black-faced Spoonbill populations to usually return to the same area also makes conservationists worry about the possible higher risk of spreading diseases and the consequences of potential loss of those usual habitats.
Only remember the quite grave case coming about in the winter of 2002, when 73 birds on their migratory journey in Taiwan died due to food poisoning, eliminating ten percent of the total worldwide number of Spoonbills at that time.

After this, an action plan concerning the implementation of international conventions on migratory species proposed the formation of protected areas for all the usual habitats of Black-faced Spoonbills during the migratory season.


Within the bounds of international conventions concerning migratory species, an international conservation program for Black-faces Spoonbills has recently been evolved. Along with the Spoonbills it will also cover the protection of the two other endangered species Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus) and Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini) which are also to be found in Vietnam.
Roger Jaensch, director of a Australian-Vietnamese cooperation concerning migratory routes in Eastern Asia said: “Now, our upcoming challenge is to motivate all participating governments, non-governmental organizations and the local communities to turn the action plans into concrete conservation results.”
Xuan Thuy National Park, the first Ramsar Site in Vietnam, is a habitat for the rare species of Black-faced Spoonbill during the migratory season. Mr. Nguyen Viet Cach, Director of the Park, said that this year, the number of Black-faced Spoonbills was considered to be normal with no big differences compared to last year. In 23 obervations the highest counted number was 63 individuals.
In abnormal years spoonbills come back as early as August. Around the year 1997 around 75-80 animals were counted during the migratory season, this was the highest number ever. In early 2000 however, the number decreased to about only 50 indivuals per year.



Pictures of birds and their prey  (16:02 | 11-05-2011)

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