3 species of birds from Latin America and the Caribbean will be protected by U.S. law under a rule published by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of Commerce.
The Andean flamingo, native to Andean regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru; the Chilean woodstar, native to the river valleys in Peru and Chile; and the St. Lucia forest thrush, endemic to the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies will be added to a list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1973.
"This listing will help the United States work with Latin American and Caribbean countries to conserve and protect these foreign species," said Rowan Gould, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Andean flamingos are long-lived birds that are native to low, medium, and high altitude wetlands in the Andean regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. This waterbird can also reach an adult height of over 106 centimeters. The Chilean woodstar is a small hummingbird, no larger than the size of a moth, which resides in areas like desert river valleys, while the St. Lucia forest thrush is a medium-sized bird that mainly occupies mid- and high-altitude habitats.
The primary factors causing the population decline of these species include habitat alteration from urbanization and mining activities, predation, agricultural practices such as pesticide spraying, land use conversion, and road development.
The addition of a foreign species to the U.S. Government's list of threatened and endangered species places restrictions on the importation of either the animal or its body parts. Listing also serves to heighten awareness of the importance of conserving these species among foreign governments, conservation organizations and the public.
The United States is committed to working with its Latin American partners and international organizations to preserve an irreplaceable treasure of the Americas – its diverse and unique plant and animal species.