Success: Guam Rail Saved From Extinction

Target: Margaret Everson, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Praise the recovery of the Guam rail from extinction.

The Guam rail, a flightless bird previously wiped out in the wild, has recovered from extinction in a resounding success for animal conservation. The saving of this bird represents a meaningful victory for conservationists and those who signed this petition. After the California condor, the Guam rail is only the second bird species in history to have bounced back from extinction in the wild.

The rail was one of ten animals whose status was updated to Critically Endangered on the IUCN’s Red List, the authoritative reference for threatened and endangered species. Despite the long road ahead to full recovery, moving the rail up the list represented a “spark of hope in the midst of the biodiversity crisis,” according to IUCN Acting Director General Dr Grethel Aguilar. Driven extinct by the introduction of the Brown Tree Snake at the end of the Second World War, the fast-running bird is easy prey for monitor lizards and feral cats. The true impact of this predation was not fully understood until the 1960s.

Now, with the work of conservationists from the Guam Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and various universities, a captive breeding program has succeeded in preparing these birds for reintroduction to their rightful habitat. The eventual full recovery of the species will help restore balance to Guam’s upset ecosystem and provide encouragement for conservationists and friends of the Earth everywhere.

Please sign below and thank those dedicated people who worked tirelessly to save a species in once-grave danger.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Everson,

The recovery of the Guam rail marks a rare success story in the world of modern animal conservation. As one of only two bird species to have been pulled back from the brink of extinction, the rail’s story offers hope and encouragement in an area which can often seem hopeless. The understanding we now have of the danger of introduced species, and the threat that posed to the rail, will serve as a cautionary tale for decades to come.

I offer our congratulations and our thanks to you, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Guam Department of Agriculture, and the many zoos, biologists, and conservationists who helped make this success a reality. I appreciate all of your hard work and look forward to seeing your future successes in restoring balance and abundance to our planet’s wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jean




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2 Comments

  1. I’m sorry but this isn’t an achievement unless you can sort out what pushed this bird to the brink of extinction & deal with that otherwise all this hard work will be pointless.

  2. A third bird, and I’m sure there are more, was saved by Peter Scot, the Hawaiian Ne-Ne and he re-introduced it after it was wiped out in the wild.

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