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A rare jay found on an island off the California coast may be endangered, but its population is rebounding due to conservation efforts, reports a new study published in the journal Ecological Applications.
Population of rare island-bound jay in California is on the rebound
November 18, 2012
The study, led by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center in Washington D.C., found that the population of the Island Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma insularis) on Santa Cruz Island is only 2,500, making it one of the rarest birds in the United States. As a result of the fundings, the IUCN raised the status of the species to vulnerable to extinction, although neither California, nor the federal government, lists the species as threatened.
However the bird's population is trending upward, rising 20-30 percent over the past 25 years, according to the study.
Island Scrub-Jay. Photo by Glen Tepke
The American Bird Conservancy is nonetheless calling for new protections for the species, beyond protection of its habitat: Channel Islands National Park, which encompasses its entire known range.
“Whenever a species only exists in small numbers in a singular location, it is cause for concern,” said Mike Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy, in a statement. “That concern is heightened when the location in question is a relatively small island. Islands are especially vulnerable to introduced predators, severe weather, and climate change impacts that could threaten the survival of this bird.”
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