Working for birds in Africa

Bird wiped out by introduction of killer fish

Date posted: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A lake bird only found in Madagascar, but not seen in more than 25 years, has been declared extinct - with its passing blamed on the introduction of a carnivorous fish.

The Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus lived in a tiny area to the east of the Indian Ocean island. The species declined through the last century after the introduction of a Snakehead Murrel, a non-native fish. The demise of the grebe was accelerated by nylon fishing nets in which birds were caught and drowned.

Its death knell is featured in the latest Red List of endangered birds by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It brings the number of bird species to have become extinct since 1600 to 132, with one in 8 species now at risk.

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