Science Surprise in South America
Extinct Bird Species Alive and Well And Living in Columbia
by Patricia Cazares, age 12
On Colombia’s Caribbean coast, hundreds of unique bird species flourish in the area around Santa Marta. These birds are endemic to the area, meaning they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Recently, Laura Cardenas, a researcher of migratory birds, re-discovered a hummingbird previously thought to be extinct.
Cardenas found the Santa Marta sabrewing bird in a mist net, banded it, and photographed it proving the species is was not extinct. The photograph was taken in the El Dorado Preserve, a 1,700-acre piece of land in the mountains. The Cardenas photograph was the first photo ever of a Santa Marta sabrewing.
More than 360 species of birds are found within the El Dorado Preserve. Besides the sabrewing hummingbird, ten other species found in the preserve are considered threatened. When rare birds like the sabrewing are separated or isolated from their natural habitats, they often struggle to survive. As their native habitat is broken up or reduced in size, many of these species face extinction.
Modern conservation efforts seek to expand protected areas in the El Dorado Preserve and address the negative effects of deforestation.
[Sources: The New York Times; The Complete Guide to Animals]