A study titled Global population collapse in a superabundant migratory bird and illegal trapping in China said that the population of the migratory songbird Yellow-Breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola) has plunged by 90 percent since 1980. The bird is disappearing from Eastern Europe, Japan and parts of Russia.
The study was published in Conservation Biology journal.
As per the study, the population of these species of birds declined by 84.3 percent to 94.7 percent during 1980-2013 period and the species’ range contracted by 5000 km.
The reason for this decline in population, according to researchers, is the illegal trapping of these birds by Chinese for eating. As a result, these birds are on the verge of becoming extinct.
Million of the Yellow-Breasted Bunting also known as Rice Bird in China are being hunted for food and sold on the black market. This is despite the fact that China in 1997 banned the hunting of these species following decline in its population.
The yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola) is a Eurasian passerine bird in the bunting family (Emberizidae). It breeds across the northern Palaearctic from Finland, Belarus and Ukraine in the west, through Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia, to far eastern Russia, Korea and northern Japan.
It was formerly one of the most abundant breeding passerines across vast swathes of Siberia, but although there have been no systematic surveys, a severe decline has been noted in most breeding areas and it has completely disappeared from parts of its former breeding range since the early 1990s.
Until 2004, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considered the yellow-breasted bunting to be a species of least concern. In 2004, its status was changed to near threatened, and four years later it was uplisted again — to vulnerable — after new research has shown it to be rarer than had been believed.
Surveys in 2012 and 2013 suggest that the species has nearly or completely disappeared from Tyumen province in Western Siberia.
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