Florida Grasshopper Sparrow Population On The Rise After Successful Breeding Program

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A breeding program in White Oak wildlife refuge, Florida has been successful in breeding 100 grasshopper sparrows and releasing them back into the wild

Written By Ruchit Rastogi | Mumbai | Updated On:

A breeding program in Florida has been successful in breeding 100 grasshopper sparrows and releasing them back into the wild. According to reports, the population of these sparrows was considered to be a total of 50 in the wild as compared to a thousand However, the conservation program reared these sparrows and released them into their natural environment.

Successful conservation program

The grasshopper sparrows have been classified under the endangered category by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service since the year 1986 and witnessed a rapid decline in their population since then. However, the breeding program was backed by federal and non-governmental beneficiaries who had the aim of bringing the sparrow population to a healthy number. All the birds that have been released, have been fitted with a microchip to monitor the population of these birds.

The conservation program is being handled by the White Oak wildlife refuge and they said that their way of breeding was natural as they set up a mirror image of the Sparrow's environment, requiring the birds to search for their own food. Director of conservation at the White Oak Wildlife, Brandon Speed, said that they will not be able to give a clear picture until 2020, adding that the people at White Oak hoped to see an increase in the sparrow's population.

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According to reports, species of birds in the United States have long been subject to the threat of endangerment or extinction. In addition to this, two-thirds of the bird population in North America has been staring at extinction due to the ongoing climate crisis, with soaring temperatures causing problems in their habitat. The Florida grasshopper is a ground-nesting bird, with its grassland habitat used by cattle for grazing. According to reports, flooding and wildfires have damaged the habitat of the birds alongside an invasion of Red Ants that threaten the birds' eggs.

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Comeback from extinction

Guam rail, a flightless bird typically about 30cm long, dull brown in colour and adorned with black and white stripes, is the latest addition to the success story in the recent history of conservation. According to the experts, the bird which went extinct in 1987 is one amongst the seven species who have made a comeback after being classified under the extinct category. According to the IUCN Red List which is the red list of threatened species, ten species have observed revival while 73 species have seen a decline.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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