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Only a few places left on the expedition to help search for Africa’s most elusive finch

22 Dec
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Uganda. Photo. Simon Espley

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Photo Simon Espley

What is Africa’s most elusive bird species ? By Dr.Chris Lotz

When asked the question “what is Africa’s most elusive bird species”, most birders would answer that it must be any of the flufftails, which are, of course, notorious. Or, perhaps they might answer that it could be one of the two pitta species lurking on this continent. But, given a systematic approach, it is actually quite possible to find and even photograph every single flufftail species given a few weeks of travel across Africa and Madagascar. Even the Critically Endangered Slender-billed Flufftail can be reliably seen with a bit of effort – As for the pittas, they certainly aren’t in any way easy, but we usually do find both species annually – our success rate for African Pitta in Mozambique and Green-breasted Pitta in Uganda must be about four in five attempts. At the start of the breeding season, we have exact stakeouts for these jewel-like species and so we’ve kind of “mastered” them and they no longer escape us.

Fewer birders would guess that the bird that we simply can’t find is a splendidly-colored finch occurring at extremely low densities in a tiny part of central Africa.

Shelley's crimsonwing. Photo courtesy www.gorilla.org

Shelley’s crimsonwing. Photo courtesy http://www.gorilla.org

While local birding guides in Uganda report the species every couple of years, there are only three known photos of the bird in the world. ( All are held in the hands of a field researcher and all are cock birds. There are currently no known photo references of a hen bird ) And we have never found one on any of our tours yet (despite the fact that we do marvelously well on all the other rare and localized species in the region). The finch we are talking about is the Shelley’s Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza shelleyi), an Albertine Rift Valley endemic with a total world population estimated at anything between 2500 and 10000 individuals.

The Albertine Rift is a westward branch of the famous Great Rift Valley, and it boasts a large number of endemic bird species occurring only in a tiny part of Africa where four countries meet: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The forested mountains of the Great Albertine rift valley

The forested mountains of the Albertine Rift . Photo Eelco Meyjes

The beautiful and spectacularly bio-diverse, forested mountains of the Albertine Rift straddle the border regions of these four countries. Shelley’s Crimsonwing is one of these Albertine Rift endemics skulking in the undergrowth of the mountain forests here. The DRC is a dangerous place to visit, and most birders focus on either Rwanda or Uganda when they want to find this rare finch. (But find the bird they don’t…!)

Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife International, Shelley’s Crimsonwing is so poorly-known that scientists do not even have much of an understanding why it is so rare, and why it is apparently declining (also with very fluctuating numbers from year to year). The guess is that habitat destruction by humans is the main culprit, but it has also often been said that the species might be declining due to natural causes, albeit mysterious and puzzling ones!

Where to look for it:

  • We wish we knew!
  • However, it is known (among other places) from the following legendary birding forests (all of which are also famous for mountain gorilla trekking
    • Threatened Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla beringei.beringei ) photo taken by Cheryl Mares and kindly donated to the RFCG

      Threatened Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla beringei.beringei ) photo taken by Cheryl Mares and kindly donated to the RFCG

      Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

    • The Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve straddling the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC – this is often considered a top site within Uganda for the crimsonwing, but the reserve is often inexplicably ignored by many birding tour operators. But, we do visit this site annually, partly because it is one of the most accessible sites for the incomparable Rwenzori Turaco (which we reliably DO find, unlike the crimsonwing!). With the spectacular Virunga Volcanos as a backdrop, Mgahinga is certainly not an unpleasant place to spend a couple of days…!
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda – this is where several sightings over the last few years have been, including a nesting pair that gave a good number of birders a look (practically “twitchable”) – but one also has to understand the story might have been exaggerated like a fishing tale (no photos were taken!). The long walk down to Mubwindi Swamp at the Ruhizha section of Bwindi – compulsory for seeing another of Africa’s most desirable birds, African Green Broadbill – is probably best. The good news about Bwindi is there are no less than 43 finch species that can be seen in this tropical rain forest.

Why not join us in August 2016 to help look for Africa’s most elusive finch ? Only a few places left.

Day 1: Aug 22. Arrival at Kigali in Rwanda and drive to Kisoro in Uganda stay at Travelers Rest X4 nights.

Day 2: Aug 23 Birding Mgahinga.

Mgahinga Gorge. Photo John Groom

Mgahinga Gorge. Photo John Groom

Birding Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve. This is one of the classic sites for Shelley’s Crimsonwing but even though we’re spending three full days here and two full days at its other classic site, we guess that the chances of actually finding Shelley’s is perhaps one in four. Hopefully the spectacular Rwenzori Turaco and the great scenery (ancient volcanos) will entertain us regardless. And, with lots of luck, who knows we might even encounter gorillas which freely cross the nearby borders into the DRC and Rwanda as this reserve straddles three countries! Please note that the main aim of this expedition is to try and find and photograph Shelley’s Crimsonwing so we’ll very much spend the bulk of our time looking for this mega-elusive species – this means driving to the reserve each morning and walking a lot, sometimes uphill quite a lot (at both sites, Mgahinga and also Bwindi).

Day 3: Aug 24 Birding Mgahinga

Day 4: Aug 25 Birding Mgahinga

Day 5: Aug 26 Birding to Ruhija.

Ruhija area. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Ruhija area. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Ruhija in the famed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts over 20 Albertine Rift endemics including African Green Broadbill – and of course good old Shelley’s. If we don’t find Shelley’s, there are three other crimsonwings in this forest. It’s also one of the world’s best-known sites for Mountain Gorilla, but if you want to see that then we suggest you join the Aug 1-19 birding and primate trip – as the current trip is a “hardcore” Shelley’s trip.

Overnight at Trekkers Tavern. Ruhija. Bwindi

Day 6: Aug 27 Birding in Ruhija. Overnight at Trekkers Tavern

Day 7: Aug 28 Birding in Ruhija.Overnight at Trekkers Tavern

Day 8: Aug 29 Transfer to Kigali and departure.

The cost is based on basic clean accommodation and meals, land cruiser vehicle with driver and fuel, guide fees, park entrance fees and drinking water in the car.

The land cruiser upon which the prices are based is the typical East African one with a popup roof, but not the newest one – and without air conditioning. This is the norm in Uganda. A surcharge would be payable for a truly good vehicle.

US$3738 per person sharing for a group of 4-5 paying participants, or $3230 for 6. There will be a small single supplement for those preferring a single room or if we can’t find someone to share a room with you. A separate price can be quoted if a Gorilla trek needs to be included.

This price includes a 10 % conservation donation to the Rare Finch Conservation Group which is a registered non-profit organisation.

We would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of the Shelley’s finch, one of Africa’s rarest finches. We plan to be as close as possible to the sites we feel are best for the species. We’d like to try and get publicity for this rare species (which will hopefully help its conservation). The trip will naturally also look at other bird and finch species in the area, but our main focus will be to try and find and see the threatened and elusive Shelley’s.

Take advantage of one of two great Africa EcoTour options linked to the Shelley’s Expedition

Join a birding and primate tour of Uganda from 1 -19 August before the Shelley’s Expedition starts, and / or  join a Namibia, Botswana, Vic Falls tour after it. ( Maximum 8 per group ) Details of both trips are at ihttp://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-uganda-gorillas-and-chimpanzees-in-12-days-2015-2?type=country&where=Uganda  and / or http://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-namibia-okavango-and-victoria-falls-18-day-2016please note that while the latter trip is usually run later in the year, if we get at least four participants, we will add another departure of this trip from Sep 1-18, 2016.

Please e-mail info@birdingecotours.co.za for more details on the Shelley’s Expedition and the exciting two Birding Ecotour options to experience and enjoy Africa at its very bestBE logo artwork

Founded in 2005 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation. It is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches. All donations will be publicly acknowledged , unless otherwise requested, on the RFCG website. Donations can be made to the following account. Rare Finch Conservation Group, Nedbank. Account number 1933 198885 Branch : Sandown 193 305 South Africa ( For international donors please add ) SWIFT NEDSZAJJ.
For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


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A great new photo of a Shelley’s crimsonwing

30 Oct
The world's third known photograph of a Shelley's crimsonwing.Photo Chicago Field Museum. Co-workers David Willard and Tom Gnoske

The world’s third known photograph of a Shelley’s crimsonwing.Photo Chicago Field Museum. Co-workers David Willard and Tom Gnoske

A new photo of a male Shelley’s crimsonwing

A so far unknown photo of a male Shelley’s crimsonwing was recently found. It was taken in 1990 by coworkers of Chicago’s Field Museum, an institution with a long-standing interest in African birds. Although the photo is 25 years old, it adds to our sparse knowledge of the most elusive of the four Cryptospiza species, but it also reminds us of what we do not know.

The (probably mist-netted) bird was hand-held and the photo was taken from an angle giving a dorso-lateral view of the male.

Shelley's crimsonwing. Photo courtesy www.gorilla.org

Shelley’s crimsonwing. Photo courtesy http://www.gorilla.org

This is a different perspective compared to the other two known photos, providing a lateral or ventral-frontal view. Why is this exciting? Because we get an impression of the back plumage. Interestingly, there is a slight yet significant difference compared to the back plumage that I know from museum skins of male Shelley’s crimsonwings.

The extent of the red colour seems lesser than on the skins that I know and possibly also lesser than on the other two photographed males.Apart from that, the red of the nape and hindneck is patchy, interspersed with patches of olive green feathers. It is tempting to speculate that the photo shows a relatively young bird in its first year, and that the red plumage parts of the males become more extent and intense as the birds get older.

The world's second known photograph of a Shelley's crimsonwing cockbird. Photo Colin Jackson

The world’s second known photograph of a Shelley’s crimsonwing cockbird. Photo Colin Jackson

Another aspect that caught my attention is the relatively broad white base of the beak. Its extent seems significantly broader than in the other two photos, and it may also be a feature associated with the age of the bird.

Another thing that is starting to puzzle me is the fact that the photo again shows a male bird. While this may still be pure chance, it may also be the result of differences in behaviour or spatial occurrence of the sexes that may make males more likely to being caught in a mist-net than females. And why were always single birds netted? The other crimsonwing species mostly appear to travel in pairs or small flocks. Does Shelley’s behave differently? Or were the females incubating eggs at the time when the three known males were caught? An alternative explanation may also be that the female population is in fact smaller than the male population.

It would be great to make contact with people at The Field Museum (Chicago) and find out more about their observations during expeditions to the Rwenzori mountains in the 1990s. Published expedition reports indicate that a larger number of birds (up to 20) were netted during an expedition in 1990/1991, and it would be a very valuable source of information to learn more about the circumstances under which this occurred. Where did the birds occur in such large numbers? This would be extremely valuable information for the RFCG in our quest for one of Africa’s rarest and most mysterious birds that has been ongoing for 10 years now.

Prof. Sven Cichon, PhD

Basel, Switzerland

Professor Sven Cichon

 Founded in 2005 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. All donations will be publicly acknowledged , unless otherwise requested, on the RFCG website. Donations can be made to the following account. Rare Finch Conservation Group, Nedbank. Account number 1933 198885 Branch : Sandown 193 305 South Africa ( For international donors please add ) SWIFT NEDSZAJJ.
For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


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SHELLEY NEEDS YOUR HELP Exciting Shelley’s Expedition planned. Linked to two great Africa Ecotour Safari options

21 Oct
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Uganda. Photo. Simon Espley

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Photo Simon Espley

Searching for Africa’s most elusive bird. By Dr.Chris Lotz

When asked the question “what is Africa’s most elusive bird species”, most birders would answer that it must be any of the flufftails, which are, of course, notorious. Or, perhaps they might answer that it could be one of the two pitta species lurking on this continent. But, given a systematic approach, it is actually quite possible to find and even photograph every single flufftail species given a few weeks of travel across Africa and Madagascar. Even the Critically Endangered Slender-billed Flufftail can be reliably seen with a bit of effort – As for the pittas, they certainly aren’t in any way easy, but we usually do find both species annually – our success rate for African Pitta in Mozambique and Green-breasted Pitta in Uganda must be about four in five attempts. At the start of the breeding season, we have exact stakeouts for these jewel-like species and so we’ve kind of “mastered” them and they no longer escape us.

Fewer birders would guess that the bird that we simply can’t find is a splendidly-colored finch occurring at extremely low densities in a tiny part of central Africa.

Shelley's crimsonwing. Photo courtesy www.gorilla.org

Shelley’s crimsonwing. Photo courtesy http://www.gorilla.org

While local birding guides in Uganda report the species every couple of years, there are only three known photos of the bird in the world. ( All are held in the hands of a field researcher and all are cock birds. There are currently no known photo references of a hen bird ) And we have never found one on any of our tours yet (despite the fact that we do marvelously well on all the other rare and localized species in the region). The finch we are talking about is the Shelley’s Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza shelleyi), an Albertine Rift Valley endemic with a total world population estimated at anything between 2500 and 10000 individuals.

The Albertine Rift is a westward branch of the famous Great Rift Valley, and it boasts a large number of endemic bird species occurring only in a tiny part of Africa where four countries meet: Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The forested mountains of the Great Albertine rift valley

The forested mountains of the Albertine Rift . Photo Eelco Meyjes

The beautiful and spectacularly bio-diverse, forested mountains of the Albertine Rift straddle the border regions of these four countries. Shelley’s Crimsonwing is one of these Albertine Rift endemics skulking in the undergrowth of the mountain forests here. The DRC is a dangerous place to visit, and most birders focus on either Rwanda or Uganda when they want to find this rare finch. (But find the bird they don’t…!)

Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife International, Shelley’s Crimsonwing is so poorly-known that scientists do not even have much of an understanding why it is so rare, and why it is apparently declining (also with very fluctuating numbers from year to year). The guess is that habitat destruction by humans is the main culprit, but it has also often been said that the species might be declining due to natural causes, albeit mysterious and puzzling ones!

Where to look for it:

  • We wish we knew!
  • However, it is known (among other places) from the following legendary birding forests (all of which are also famous for mountain gorilla trekking
    • Threatened Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla beringei.beringei ) photo taken by Cheryl Mares and kindly donated to the RFCG

      Threatened Mountain Gorilla ( Gorilla beringei.beringei ) photo taken by Cheryl Mares and kindly donated to the RFCG

      Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda

    • The Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve straddling the border between Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC – this is often considered a top site within Uganda for the crimsonwing, but the reserve is often inexplicably ignored by many birding tour operators. But, we do visit this site annually, partly because it is one of the most accessible sites for the incomparable Rwenzori Turaco (which we reliably DO find, unlike the crimsonwing!). With the spectacular Virunga Volcanos as a backdrop, Mgahinga is certainly not an unpleasant place to spend a couple of days…!
  • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda – this is where several sightings over the last few years have been, including a nesting pair that gave a good number of birders a look (practically “twitchable”) – but one also has to understand the story might have been exaggerated like a fishing tale (no photos were taken!). The long walk down to Mubwindi Swamp at the Ruhizha section of Bwindi – compulsory for seeing another of Africa’s most desirable birds, African Green Broadbill – is probably best. The good news about Bwindi is there are no less than 43 finch species that can be seen in this tropical rain forest.

SHELLEY NEEDS YOUR HELP. Why not join us in August 2016 to help look for it ? 

Day 1: Aug 22. Arrival at Kigali in Rwanda and drive to Kisoro in Uganda stay at Travelers Rest X4 nights.

Day 2: Aug 23 Birding Mgahinga.

Mgahinga Gorge. Photo John Groom

Mgahinga Gorge. Photo John Groom

Birding Mgahinga Gorilla Reserve. This is one of the classic sites for Shelley’s Crimsonwing but even though we’re spending three full days here and two full days at its other classic site, we guess that the chances of actually finding Shelley’s is perhaps one in four. Hopefully the spectacular Rwenzori Turaco and the great scenery (ancient volcanos) will entertain us regardless. And, with lots of luck, who knows we might even encounter gorillas which freely cross the nearby borders into the DRC and Rwanda as this reserve straddles three countries! Please note that the main aim of this expedition is to try and find and photograph Shelley’s Crimsonwing so we’ll very much spend the bulk of our time looking for this mega-elusive species – this means driving to the reserve each morning and walking a lot, sometimes uphill quite a lot (at both sites, Mgahinga and also Bwindi).

Day 3: Aug 24 Birding Mgahinga

Day 4: Aug 25 Birding Mgahinga

Day 5: Aug 26 Birding to Ruhija.

Ruhija area. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Ruhija area. Photo Eelco Meyjes

Ruhija in the famed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts over 20 Albertine Rift endemics including African Green Broadbill – and of course good old Shelley’s. If we don’t find Shelley’s, there are three other crimsonwings in this forest. It’s also one of the world’s best-known sites for Mountain Gorilla, but if you want to see that then we suggest you join the Aug 1-19 birding and primate trip – as the current trip is a “hardcore” Shelley’s trip.

Overnight at Trekkers Tavern. Ruhija. Bwindi

Day 6: Aug 27 Birding in Ruhija. Overnight at Trekkers Tavern

Day 7: Aug 28 Birding in Ruhija.Overnight at Trekkers Tavern

Day 8: Aug 29 Transfer to Kigali and departure.

The cost is based on basic clean accommodation and meals, land cruiser vehicle with driver and fuel, guide fees, park entrance fees and drinking water in the car.

The land cruiser upon which the prices are based is the typical East African one with a popup roof, but not the newest one – and without air conditioning. This is the norm in Uganda. A surcharge would be payable for a truly good vehicle.

US$3738 per person sharing for a group of 4-5 paying participants, or $3230 for 6. There will be a small single supplement for those preferring a single room or if we can’t find someone to share a room with you. A separate price can be quoted if a Gorilla trek needs to be included.

This price includes a 10 % conservation donation to the Rare Finch Conservation Group which is a registered non-profit organisation.

We would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of the Shelley’s finch, one of Africa’s rarest finches. We plan to be as close as possible to the sites we feel are best for the species. We’d like to try and get publicity for this rare species (which will hopefully help its conservation). The trip will naturally also look at other bird and finch species in the area, but our main focus will be to try and find and see the threatened and elusive Shelley’s.

More about the two great Africa EcoTour options linked to the exciting Shelley’s Expedition experience

Join a birding and primate tour of Uganda from 1 -19 August before the Shelley’s Expedition starts, and / or  join a Namibia, Botswana, Vic Falls tour after it. ( Maximum 8 per group ) Details of both trips are at ihttp://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-uganda-gorillas-and-chimpanzees-in-12-days-2015-2?type=country&where=Uganda  and / or http://birdingecotours.com/tour/birding-tour-namibia-okavango-and-victoria-falls-18-day-2016please note that while the latter trip is usually run later in the year, if we get at least four participants, we will add another departure of this trip from Sep 1-18, 2016.

Please e-mail info@birdingecotours.co.za for more details on the Shelley’s Expedition and the exciting two Birding Ecotour options to experience and enjoy Africa at its very bestBE logo artwork

Founded in 2005 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation. It is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches. All donations will be publicly acknowledged , unless otherwise requested, on the RFCG website. Donations can be made to the following account. Rare Finch Conservation Group, Nedbank. Account number 1933 198885 Branch : Sandown 193 305 South Africa ( For international donors please add ) SWIFT NEDSZAJJ.
For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


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Finches that can be seen in Africa north of the Sahara

12 Oct
 

Eurasian Bullfinch

Eurasian Bullfinch. This species really is a vagrant species from Europe seen in the very far North Western tip of Africa. Very few sightings have been recorded . The sightings have been in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Photo: Francis C Frances

European Goldfinch

European Goldfinch. This species which can be seen in many different parts of the world, but not south of the Sahara desert, is a resident and winter visitor in Morocco, Algeria.Tunisia and Libya.The numbers are quite common. In Egypt it is fairly common in the Nile Delta.Photo Eran Gissis

Hawfinch

Hawfinch.This species is a winter visitor from Europe. It is not often seen, but it has been seen in Morocco, Algeria,Tunisia, Libya and even on the very odd occasion in Egypt. An interesting characteristic of this species is that at first the young are brooded by the hen only and only later does the cock bird get involved Photo Carl Day

European Greenfinch

European Greenfinch.This finch can be seen frequently during the European winters in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia . It can also be seen in the very far northern part of the Nile Delta in Egypt.Photo source: Pintarest

So much is often said about the spectacular finches that can be seen in Africa south of the Sahara desert. But not many people know of some of the beautiful finches that can be seen in Africa north of the Sahara. Most of the finches originate from Europe and can be seen along various parts of the Mediterranean coast line in the Arabic speaking countries. While some are seldom seen others are quite common.For more info on the above species refer to The Birds of Africa Volume VII by C.Hilary Fry et al

 The Rare Finch Conservation Group is registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation and is totally dependent on donors and sponsors to carry out its conservation work on finches in the wild. All donations will be publicly acknowledged , unless otherwise requested, on the RFCG website. Donations can be made to the following account. Rare Finch Conservation Group, Nedbank. Account number 1933 198885 Branch : Sandown 193 305 South Africa ( For international donors please add ) SWIFT NEDSZAJJ.
For more info visit http://www.rarefinch.org or write to the secretary at editor@avitalk.co.za


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Australian Black-throated Finch celebrates a reprieve

16 Sep
Black-throated finches are monomorphic. Sexually they look the same, but a very well trained eye will be able to see the difference. Photo courtesy Geoff Jones

Black-throated finches are monomorphic. Sexually they look the same, but only a well trained eye will be able to see the difference. Photo courtesy Geoff Jones

Federal Court decision gives finch a second chance

The future of the endangered Southern Black-throated Finch looked bleak, but today the Federal Court has given the beleaguered bird a reprieve by overturning Commonwealth approval for its habitat to be mined. BirdLife Australia welcomes the decision.

There had been an outcry after the Federal Government granted approval for mining company Adani to establish its controversial Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin,The mine – set to be Australia’s largest coal mine – had been poised to destroy over 16,500 hectares of habitat crucial to the birds survival.

” The Carmichael mine site supports Australia’s largest known population of Southern Black – throated Finch ” said Samantha Vine, BirdLife Australia Head of Conservation. ” and experts agree that this is clearly the most important site in the world for these birds ”

” The mine would have pushed the population of this tiny bird to the brink of extinction, and today’s judgement means the finch has a second chance ”

The Federal Court’s decision was based on a failure by the Environment Minister Greg Hunt to have regard to conservation advice for the threatened Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake, and he will now need to decide whether or not to approve the mine again

With the Environment Department indicating the reconsideration could happen in the next six to eight weeks, BirdLife Australia is calling on Minister Hunt to consider significant new information pertaining to the Black-throated Finch which came to light since he made his decision to approve the mine last year. This new information includes evidence heard in a case against the mine in the Queensland Environment Court , which has been running concurrently with the Federal Court challenge.

” The Queensland Environment Court has recently heard evidence regarding the inadequacy of the EIS surveys and the deeply flawed ‘offset ‘ proposals,” said Samantha

Adani’s own Black-throated Finch expert did not dispute that , if the Carmichael mine was to proceed, it would result in the destruction of key critical habitat that would push the Black-throated Finch closer towards extinction. He also admitted that the proposed offset area ” would not have the capacity to take all the birds”

” The Court heard that successful relocation of the birds is unproven and that the area that has been chosen to offset the mine’s environmental damage was based on an inadequate understanding of the significance of the population” continued Ms Vine, ” This evidence was not available to Minister Hunt when he made his decision last July, so we are urging him to consider it and make the right decision for the bird this time ”

The above is a BirdLife Australia media release. Media contact Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation . smantha.vine@birdlife.org.au

The above article was reproduced from FINCH NEWS, the official publication of the Queensland Finch Society Inc, PO Box 1600, Coorpaco DC 4151, Queensland Australia


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