[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 155 (Thursday, August 11, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50051-50080]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-19953]



[[Page 50051]]

Vol. 76

Thursday,

No. 155

August 11, 2011

Part IV





Department of the Interior





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Fish and Wildlife Service





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Six Foreign 
Birds as Endangered Throughout Their Range; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 76 , No. 155 / Thursday, August 11, 2011 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 50052]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R9-ES-2009-0084; MO 92210-1111F114 B6]
RIN 1018-AW39


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Six 
Foreign Birds as Endangered Throughout Their Range

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, determine endangered 
status for the following six foreign species found on islands in French 
Polynesia and in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa: Cantabrian 
capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus); Marquesan imperial pigeon 
(Ducula galeata); the Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler (Acrocephalus 
percernis aquilonis), previously referred to as (Acrocephalus mendanae 
aquilonis); greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius); Jerdon's courser 
(Rhinoptilus bitorquatus); and slender-billed curlew (Numenius 
tenuirostris), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as 
amended. This final rule implements the Federal protections provided by 
the Act for these species.

DATES: This rule becomes effective September 12, 2011.

ADDRESSES: This final rule is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and comments and materials received, as well as 
supporting documentation used in the preparation of this rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 
400, Arlington, VA 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) is a law that was passed to prevent extinction of species 
by providing measures to help alleviate the loss of species and their 
habitats. Before a plant or animal species can receive the protection 
provided by the Act, it must first be added to the Federal Lists of 
Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and Plants; section 4 of the Act and 
its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 424 set forth the 
procedures for adding species to these lists.

Previous Federal Actions

    On January 5, 2010, the Service published in the Federal Register a 
rule proposing to list these six foreign bird species as endangered 
under the Act (75 FR 286). Following publication of the proposed rule, 
we implemented the Service's peer review process and opened a 60-day 
comment period to solicit scientific and commercial information on the 
species from all interested parties. For more detailed information on 
previous Federal actions, please refer to the January 2010 proposed 
rule.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We base this finding on a review of the best scientific and 
commercial information available, including all information received 
during the public comment period. In the January 5, 2010, proposed 
rule, we requested that all interested parties submit information that 
might contribute to development of a final rule. We also contacted 
appropriate scientific experts and organizations and invited them to 
comment on the proposed listings. We received comments from 10 
individuals; five of which were from peer reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments we received from the public and peer 
reviewers for substantive issues and new information regarding the 
proposed listing of these species, and we address those comments below. 
Overall, the commenters and peer reviewers supported the proposed 
listing. Nine comments included additional information for 
consideration; the remaining comment simply supported the proposed 
listing without providing scientific or commercial data.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34270), we solicited expert opinions from 21 individuals with 
scientific expertise that included familiarity with the species, the 
geographic region in which the species occurs, and conservation biology 
principles. We received responses from five of the peer reviewers from 
whom we requested comments. They generally agreed that the description 
of the biology and habitat for the species was accurate and based on 
all relevant literature. Some new information was provided for some of 
the species, as well as technical clarifications, as described below. 
Technical corrections suggested by the peer reviewers have been 
incorporated into this final rule. In some cases, it has been indicated 
in the citations by ``personal communication'' (pers. comm.), which 
could indicate either an e-mail or telephone conversation; while in 
other cases, the research citation is provided.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    (1) Comment: Two peer reviewers provided comments and additional 
literature regarding the Cantabrian capercaillie's diet, noting that 
the diet for the subspecies is unique compared to other capercaillie 
species.
    Our Response: We reviewed the additional literature provided and 
updated the information on the subspecies' population estimate and 
diet, highlighting the use of different plants throughout the season.
    (2) Comment: One peer reviewer stated that grouse, including 
capercaillie, do not have ``crests,'' but supraorbital combs and that 
the description of the bird given was not a good one. Another peer 
reviewer noted that the species description included only the male 
plumage and did not describe the female.
    Our Response: The ``crests'' in the species description given in 
the proposed rule refers to a scarlet crest-shaped area above the eyes. 
We have replaced ``crests'' with ``supraorbital combs.'' We have also 
revised the species description to include more specific details of the 
species' traits and included a description of the female.
    (3) Comment: One peer reviewer provided additional literature on 
differences in habitat selection within the Cantabrian capercaillie 
subspecies.
    Our Response: We have reviewed the provided literature and have 
revised our discussion on the Cantabrian capercaillie habitat to 
reflect the slight differences in the preferred habitat of hens and 
cocks during the summer.
    (4) Comment: One peer reviewer stated that there was not enough 
data available to support information on Cantabrian capercaillie 
population subdivision.
    Our Response: The peer reviewer is referring to a study, conducted 
by Pollo et al. (2005), which we included in our discussion of the 
population decline in Cantabrian capercaillie. The study counted 
singing males in leks located across the southern slope of the

[[Page 50053]]

Cantabrian Mountains. The author considered a set of leks of a side-
valley or a continuous forested habitat, generally separated by 
intervening ridges, to be a subpopulation. There is no information 
indicating that these groupings are true subpopulations. Based on this, 
we removed the language referring to subpopulations and reported the 
results of the study in total number of singing males across the 
southern slope.
    (5) Comment: One peer reviewer stated there were updates on the 
phylogeography of the Cantabrian Capercaillie and its potential 
significance for future management, and provided additional literature.
    Our Response: We reviewed the provided literature and incorporated 
the results of a genetic study under the Conservation Status section 
for this species.
    (6) Comment: One peer reviewer provided clarification on the IUCN 
assessment process.
    Our Response: Our discussion under the Conservation Status section 
of the proposed rule suggested that the International Union for 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had decided not to list the Cantabrian 
subspecies. All bird species are regularly assessed by the IUCN; 
however, subspecies are often omitted because of capacity limitations, 
although IUCN Red List categories and criteria can be applied to 
subspecies. We have revised the discussion per the peer reviewer's 
comment.
    (7) Comment: One peer reviewer suggested that the common name Eiao 
Polynesian warbler was misleading and suggested a more specific English 
common name, Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler. This peer reviewer also 
provided additional citations for the Eiao Polynesian warbler and 
Marquesan imperial pigeon.
    Our Response: The peer reviewer pointed out that species of the 
genus Acrocephalus are specifically reed-warblers and there are several 
species which inhabit the Polynesian region. We have changed our use of 
Eiao Polynesian warbler to Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler to more clearly 
refer to the reed-warbler that resides on Eiao Island in the Marquesas. 
We also reviewed the suggested citations and updated the information on 
clutch size for the Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler and population 
information for the Marquesan imperial pigeon.
    (8) Comment: One peer reviewer provided additional citations 
regarding the description of the Jerdon's courser. This peer reviewer 
also provided information on hunting as a threat to the Jerdon't 
courser.
    Our Response: We have reviewed the suggested citation and have 
corrected the species description for the Jerdon's courser. Also, we 
have added information on hunting as a potential threat to this 
species, but also note that there is no quantitative information on 
which to analyze this threat.
    (9) Comment: One peer reviewer provided two additional citations 
for consideration regarding the slender-billed curlew.
    Our Response: We reviewed the suggested citations and included 
additional information on nesting habitat and alterations to the 
nesting habitat described by Ushakov in 1924.

Public Comments

    (10) Comment: One commenter suggested we also consider protecting 
the habitat of these six species.
    Our Response: The Service does not have the authority to purchase 
or similarly protect habitat in areas under the jurisdiction of other 
countries. However, recognition through listing results in public 
awareness, and encourages and results in conservation actions by 
Federal and State governments, private agencies and groups, and 
individuals; these actions may address the conservation of habitat 
needed by foreign-listed species. The Act also authorizes the provision 
of limited financial assistance for the development and management of 
programs that the Secretary of the Interior determines to be necessary 
or useful for the conservation of endangered and threatened species in 
foreign countries; these programs may also be aimed at the conservation 
of habitat needed by listed species.
    (11) Comment: One comment provided a technical correction to the 
status of the Cantabrian capercaillie under Spain's National Catalog of 
Endangered Species and provided the amendment changing its status to 
``in danger of extinction.'' This commenter also provided additional 
literature regarding population estimates for the Cantabrian 
capercaillie and a recent decree approving a recovery plan for this 
subspecies.
    Our Response: Under the Conservation Status section of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie, we have revised our text to indicate that this 
subspecies is listed as ``in danger of extinction'' based on the 2005 
amendment changing its status from ``vulnerable.'' We also reviewed the 
information on population estimates along with the additional citations 
provided by two peer reviewers (discussed above under Peer Reviewer 
Comments). We have updated the information on the subspecies' 
population estimate. We added information under Factor D relating to 
the approved Recovery Plan and the protections and measures it 
provides.
    (12) Comment: One commenter provided two citations and stated that 
the Cantabrian capercaillie habitat consists of Scots pine (Pinus 
sylvestris) and disappearance of pine trees in the Cantabrian Mountains 
threatens the Cantabrian capercaillie. The commenter further states 
that future habitat alteration due to climate change will likely 
further threaten and impact the species.
    Our Response: After review of the two citations, we do not agree 
with the commenter's conclusions. It is our opinion that the first 
citation given by the commenter (Science Daily 2008, unpaginated) 
misinterprets the study and conclusions of Rubiales et al. (2008). To 
begin, the Cantabrian capercaillie occurs in entirely deciduous 
forests, not pine forests. In fact, this habitat difference is part of 
the basis for the Cantabrian capercaillie being described as a separate 
subspecies. Furthermore, the Rubiales et al. (2008) article describes 
the historical biogeography of Scots pine in the Cantabrian range and 
only briefly compares the trends in distribution of Scots pine and the 
capercaillie species as a whole, not just the Cantabrian capercaillie 
subspecies (Rubiales et al. 2008, pp. 6-7). The journal article does 
conclude that today's Scots pine and capercaillie populations are now 
highly fragmented and their future, given the predictions of global 
climate change, is uncertain (Rubiales et al. 2008, p. 1); however, 
this conclusion is referring to the species as a whole. Given that the 
other subspecies of capercaillie occur in entirely coniferous or mixed-
coniferous forests, this statement is more appropriate to those 
subspecies and not to the Cantabrian capercaillie. We did not find, or 
receive, any information on climate change in the region of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie or information on the impact on deciduous 
forests in this area. Therefore, we did not add any information on the 
impact of climate change to the Cantabrian capercaillie.
    (13) Comment: One commenter stated that the slender-billed curlew 
has been identified as a species threatened by climate change due to 
its small and declining population size and area of occupancy. The 
commenter also provided an additional citation to support this 
statement.
    Our Response: We have reviewed the suggested literature and have 
included under Factor E additional information on climate change 
predictions within the African-Eurasian Waterbird Flyway

[[Page 50054]]

and potential impacts to slender-billed curlew based on these 
predictions.

Summary of Changes From Proposed Rule

    We fully considered comments from the public and peer reviewers on 
the proposed rule to develop this final listing of these six foreign 
bird species. This final rule incorporates changes to our proposed 
listing based on the comments that we received that are discussed above 
and newly available scientific and commercial information. Reviewers 
generally commented that the proposed rule was very thorough and 
comprehensive. We made some technical corrections based on new, 
although limited, information. None of the information, however, 
changed our determination that listing these species as endangered is 
warranted.
    One substantive change we have made is in our analysis of the 
slender-billed curlew. In our proposed rule, we concluded that Factor 
A. (Present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
habitat or range) was a threat to the species throughout its range. 
However, after further analysis of the information, we find that the 
loss of habitat is historic and that other species that use the same 
types of habitat have not experienced the same population decline seen 
in the slender-billed curlew. Furthermore, since it is not known what 
habitat the slender-billed curlew currently uses when in its nesting 
grounds, passage areas, or wintering grounds, we cannot properly assess 
the current or potential future threat of habitat modification or the 
impacts on this species. Therefore, we find that Factor A is not a 
threat to the species. This change did not alter our overall 
determination that the slender-billed curlew is in danger of extinction 
and should be listed as endangered under the Act.

Species Information and Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species based 
on any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination.
    Despite the fact that global climate changes are occurring and 
affecting habitat, the climate change models that are currently 
available do not yet enable us to make meaningful predictions of 
climate change for specific, local areas (Parmesan and Matthews 2005, 
p. 354). We have obtained information on climate change for the 
slender-billed curlew and potential impacts to this species (See Factor 
E). However, we do not have models to predict how the climate in the 
range of the other Eurasian and Asian bird species will change, and we 
do not know how any change that may occur would affect these species. 
Nor do we have information on past and future weather patterns within 
the specific range of these species. Therefore, based on the current 
lack of information, we did not evaluate climate change as a threat to 
five of these species.
    Below is a species-by-species description and analysis of the five 
factors. The species are considered in alphabetical order, beginning 
with the Cantabrian capercaillie, followed by the Eiao Marquesas reed-
warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon's courser, Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, 
and the slender-billed curlew.

I. Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus)

Species Description

    The Cantabrian capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) is a 
subspecies of the western capercaillie (T. urogallus) in the family 
Tetraonidae. The species in general is a large, very dark grouse of 80 
to 115 centimeters (cm) in length (31 to 45 inches (in)), with the 
female being much smaller than the male. The species is characterized 
by having slate gray plumage with fine blackish vermiculation (wavelike 
pattern) around the head and neck. The breast is a glossy greenish-
black. The wings are dark brown with a prominent white carpal patch and 
variable amount of white on the upper- and undertail-coverts (feathers) 
and the underparts. This bird has a long, rounded tail, an ivory white 
bill, and a scarlet supraorbital comb (above the eye). Females are 
mottled black, gray and buff with a large rusty patch on the breast 
(World Association of Zoos and Aquaria 2009, unpaginated). Based on 
ecological differences from other capercaillie subspecies (the 
Cantabrian capercaillie is the only subspecies that inhabits pure 
deciduous forests) and morphological differences from the Pyrenean 
capercaillie (T. u. aquitanicus) (Cantabrian capercaillie are lighter 
in color and have a smaller beak), the Cantabrian population was 
described as belonging to a different subspecies by Castroviejo 1976 
(Rodr[iacute]guez-Mu[ntilde]oz et al. 2007, pp. 660, 666).
    The Cantabrian capercaillie once existed along the whole of the 
Cantabrian Mountain range from northern Portugal through Galicia, 
Asturias, and Leon, to Santander in northern Spain (IUCN Redbook 1979, 
p. 1). Currently its range is restricted to both the northern slope 
(Asturias and Cantabria provinces) and the southern slope (Le[oacute]n 
and Palencia provinces) of the Cantabrian Mountains in northwest Spain. 
The subspecies inhabits an area of 1,700 square kilometers (km\2\) (656 
square miles (mi\2\)), and its range is separated from its nearest 
neighboring subspecies of capercaillie (T. u. aquitanus) in the 
Pyrenees mountains by a distance of more than 300 km (186 mi) (Quevedo 
et al. 2006b, p. 268).
    Unlike other capercaillie subspecies, the Cantabrian capercaillie 
occurs in entirely deciduous forests consisting of a rugged montane 
landscape of mature beech (Fagus sylvatica), sessile oak (Quercus 
petraea), and birch (Betula pubescens) (Rodr[iacute]guez-Mu[ntilde]oz 
et al. 2007, pp. 659, 660; Banuelos et al. 2008, pp. 245-246) at 
elevations ranging from 800 to 1,800 m (2,600 to 5,900 ft). The 
Cantabrian capercaillie also uses other microhabitat types (broom 
(Genista spp.), meadow, and heath (Erica spp.)) selectively throughout 
the year (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 271). A recent study has found that 
some habitat partitioning occurs amongst the Cantabrian capercaillie. 
During the summer, hens and cocks are more associated with open areas 
than the forested spring display areas. Specifically, hens with broods 
are more associated with treeline birch forests, which are the most 
suitable areas for the species, and are characterized by a rich 
understory of shrubs such as heath and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus); 
hens without broods prefer a more rugged terrain; and cocks prefer 
beech or oak forests (Banuelos et al. 2008, p. 249).
    Diet appears to be a driver of habitat selection (Blanco-Fontao et 
al. 2009, pp. 1, 6). In summer and autumn, the majority of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie diet consists of bilberry (mainly berries) and 
fern fronds. In winter, holly leaves (Ilex aquifolium), beech buds, 
bilberry shoots and fern fronds make up a majority of the diet, whereas 
only beech buds, bilberry shoots and fern fronds dominate the spring 
diet. Birch, oak, rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), heath, and broom are also 
consumed, but in much

[[Page 50055]]

smaller amounts (Blanco-Fontao et al. 2009, p. 4).
    The current population is likely less than 1,000 birds; however, 
reliable estimates are lacking (Storch 2007, p. 49). Population 
estimates for species of grouse are commonly assessed by counting males 
that gather during the breeding season to sing and display at leks 
(traditional places where males assemble during the mating season and 
engage in competitive displays to attract females). In a 1981-1982 
survey of the southern slope, Pollo et al. (2005, p. 401) estimated a 
minimum number of 274 singing male capercaillie; in subsequent surveys 
from 1987-1989, 1998, and 2000-2003, only 219, 94, and 81 males were 
recorded, respectively, indicating a 70 percent reduction. This is 
equivalent to an average decline of 3 percent per year, or 22 percent 
over 8 years (Storch et al. 2006, p. 654). A study conducted from 2005 
to 2007 found that only 30 percent of all known leks were occupied in 
the northern watershed of the species' range, indicating an occupancy 
decline of 5.4 percent. In the southern watershed, only 34.5 percent of 
all known leks in the area remain occupied (Ba[ntilde]uelos and Quevedo 
2008, p. 5).
    The area occupied by Cantabrian capercaillie in 1981-1982 covered 
up to approximately 2,070 km\2\ (799 mi\2\) of the southern slope (972 
km\2\ (375 mi\2\) in the west and 1,098 km\2\ (424 mi\2\) in the east). 
Between 2000 and 2003, the area of occupancy had declined to 693 km\2\ 
(268 mi\2\), specifically 413 km\2\ (159 mi\2\) in the west and 280 
km\2\ (108 mi\2\) in the east. Thus, over a 22-year period, there was a 
66-percent reduction in the areas occupied by this subspecies on the 
southern slope of the Cantabrian Mountains (Pollo et al. 2005, p. 401). 
Based on this data, the subpopulation in the eastern portion of the 
range appears to be declining at a faster rate than the subpopulation 
in the western portion of the range.

Conservation Status

    Although Storch et al. (2006 p. 653) noted that the Cantabrian 
capercaillie meets the criteria to be listed as ``Endangered'' on the 
IUCN Redlist due to ``rapid population declines, small population size, 
and severely fragmented range,'' it is currently not classified as such 
by the IUCN. The species (western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus)) has 
been evaluated and is listed as Least Concern (Birdlife International 
2009, unpaginated); subspecies are generally omitted due to capacity 
limitations, although the IUCN categories and criteria can be applied 
to subspecies (Storch et al. 2006 p. 653). The species is classified as 
``in danger of extinction'' in Spain under the National Catalog of 
Endangered Species (Ministry of the Environment MAM Order/2231/2005). 
The species has not been formally considered for listing in the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora (CITES) Appendices (http://www.cites.org). Recent 
phylogenetic studies indicate that the Cantabrian capercaillie forms a 
different clade from those of other European capercaillie, and 
factoring in ecological differences, qualifies as an Evolutionarily 
Significant Unit (Storch et al. 2006, p. 653; Rodr[iacute]guez-
Mu[ntilde]oz et al. 2007, p. 668). Combined with recent population 
trends and changes in distribution, Rodr[iacute]guez-Mu[ntilde]oz et 
al. (2007, p. 668) suggest the status of this species should be defined 
as critical.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Cantabrian Capercaillie

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    Numerous limiting factors influence the population dynamics of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie throughout its range, including habitat 
degradation, loss, and fragmentation (Storch 2000, p. 83; 2007, p. 96). 
Forest structure plays an important role in determining habitat 
suitability and occupancy. Quevedo et al. (2006b, p. 274) found that 
open forest structure with well-distributed bilberry shrubs were the 
preferred habitat type of Cantabrian capercaillie. Management of forest 
resources for timber production has caused and continues to cause 
significant changes in forest structure such as: Species composition, 
density and height of trees, forest patch size, and understory 
vegetation (Pollo et al. 2005, p. 406).
    The historic range occupied by this subspecies (3,500 km\2\ (1,350 
mi\2\)) has declined by more than 50 percent (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 
268). The current range is severely fragmented, with low forest habitat 
cover (22 percent of the landscape) and most of the suitable habitat 
remaining in small patches less than 10 hectares (ha) (25 acres (ac)) 
in size (Garcia et al. 2005, p. 34). Patches of good-quality habitat 
are scarce and discontinuous, particularly in the central parts of the 
range (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 269), and leks in the smaller forest 
patches have been abandoned during the last few decades. The leks that 
remain occupied are now located farther from forest edges than those 
occupied in the 1980s (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 271).
    Based on population surveys, forest fragments containing occupied 
leks in 2000 were significantly larger than fragments containing leks 
in the 1980s that have since been abandoned (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 
271). The forest fragments from which the Cantabrian capercaillie has 
disappeared since the 1980s are small in size, and are the most 
isolated from other forest patches. In addition, the Cantabrian 
capercaillie have disappeared from forest patches located closest to 
the edge of the range in both the eastern and western subpopulations of 
the south slope of the Cantabrian Mountains, suggesting that forest 
fragmentation is playing an important role in the population dynamics 
of this subspecies (Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 271). Research conducted 
on other subspecies of capercaillie indicate that the size of forest 
patches is correlated to the number of males that gather in leks to 
display, and that below a certain forest patch size, leks are abandoned 
(Quevedo et al. 2006b, p. 273).
    In highly fragmented landscapes, forest patches are embedded in a 
matrix of other habitats, and forest dwellers like capercaillies 
frequently encounter open areas within their home range. Quevedo et al. 
(2006a, p. 197) developed a habitat suitability model for the 
Cantabrian capercaillie that assessed the relationship between forest 
patch size and occupancy. He determined that the subspecies still 
remains in habitat units that show habitat suitability indices below 
the cut-off values of the two best predictive models (decline and 
general), which may indicate a high risk of local extinction. Other 
researchers suggested that, should further habitat or connectivity loss 
occur, the Cantabrian capercaillie population may become so 
disaggregated that the few isolated subpopulations will be too small to 
ensure their own long-term persistence (Grimm and Storch 2000, p. 224).
    A demographic model based on Bavarian alpine populations of 
capercaillie suggests a minimum viable population size of the order of 
500 birds (Grimm and Storch 2000, p. 222). However, genetic data show 
clear signs of reduced variability in populations with numbers of 
individuals in the range of fewer than 1,000 birds, which indicates 
that a demographic minimum population of 500 birds may be too small to 
maintain high genetic variability (Segelbacher et al. 2003, p. 1779). 
Genetic consequences of habitat fragmentation exist for this species in 
the form of increased genetic differentiation due to increased 
isolation of populations (Segelbacher et al. 2003, p. 1779). Therefore,

[[Page 50056]]

anthropogenic habitat deterioration and fragmentation not only leads to 
range contractions and extinctions, but may also have significant 
genetic, and thus, evolutionary consequences for the surviving 
populations (Segelbacher et al. 2003, p. 1779).
    In summary, recent population surveys show this subspecies is 
continuing to decline throughout its current range, and subpopulations 
may be isolated from one another due to range contractions in the 
eastern and western portions of its range, leaving the central portion 
of the subspecies range abandoned (Pollo et al. 2005, p. 401). Some 
remaining populations may already have a high risk of local extinction 
(Quevedo et al. 2006a, p. 197). Management of forest resources for 
timber production continues to negatively affect forest structure, 
thereby affecting the quality, quantity, and distribution of suitable 
habitat available for this subspecies. In addition, the structure of 
the matrix of habitats located between forest patches is likely 
affecting the ability of capercaillies to disperse between 
subpopulations. Therefore, we find that present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range is a 
threat to the continued existence of the Cantabrian capercaillie 
throughout its range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Currently hunting of the Cantabrian capercaillie is illegal in 
Spain; however, illegal hunting still occurs (Storch 2000, p. 83; 2007, 
p. 96). Because this species congregates in leks, individuals are 
particularly easy targets, and poaching of protected grouse is 
considered common (Storch 2000, p. 15). It is unknown what the 
incidence of poaching is or what impact it is having on this 
subspecies; however, given the limited number of birds remaining and 
the reduced genetic variability already evident at current population 
levels, the further loss of breeding adults could have substantial 
impact on the subspecies. Therefore, we find that overutilization for 
recreational purposes is a threat to the continued existence of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    Diseases and parasites have been proposed as factors associated 
with the decline of populations of other species within the same family 
of birds as the capercaillie (Tetraonidae) (Obeso et al. 2000, p. 191). 
In an attempt to determine if parasites were contributing to the 
decline of the Cantabrian capercaillie, researchers collected and 
analyzed fecal samples in 1998 from various localities across the range 
of this subspecies. The prevalence of common parasites (Eimeria sp. and 
Capillaria sp.) was present in 58 percent and 25 percent of the samples 
collected, respectively. However, both the intensity and average 
intensity of these parasites were very low compared to other 
populations of species of birds in the Tetraonidae family. Other 
parasites were found infrequently. The researchers concluded that it 
was unlikely that intestinal parasites were causing the decline of the 
Cantabrian capercaillie.
    Based on the information above, we do not believe that parasite 
infestations are a significant factor in the decline of this 
subspecies. We are not aware of any species-specific information 
currently available that indicates that predation poses a threat to the 
species. Therefore, we are not considering disease or predation to be 
contributing threats to the continued existence of the Cantabrian 
capercaillie throughout its range.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    This subspecies is currently classified as ``in danger of 
extinction'' in Spain under the National Catalog of Endangered Species, 
which affords it special protection (e.g., additional regulation of 
activities in the forests of its range, regulation of trails and roads 
in the area, elimination of poaching, and protection of areas important 
to young). Although it is classified as ``in danger of extinction,'' as 
mentioned above (see Factor B), illegal hunting still occurs.
    In conjunction with this subspecies being listed as ``in danger of 
extinction'' under the National Catalog of Endangered Species, a 
recovery plan for the Cantabrian capercaillie was approved by the 
Autonomous Community of Castilla and Leon. This official document 
approves the recovery plan and adopts measures for the protection of 
the species in the Community of Castilla and Leon (Decree 4/2009, dated 
January 15, 2009; Pollo 2010, pers. comm.). The purpose of the Recovery 
Plan is to foster necessary actions to allow the species to achieve a 
more favorable conservation status and to ensure its long-term 
viability and stop population decline. The Recovery Plan includes 
requirements that the effects to the Cantabrian capercaillie or its 
habitat be considered before a plan or activity can be implemented; 
restricting access to critical areas; suspension of resource 
exploitation activities following wildlife catastrophic events (e.g., 
animal epidemics, poisoning, widespread wildfires) to allow for 
recovery; prohibiting certain activities within critical areas; and 
specific measures to meet the goals of the Recovery Plan.
    The European Union (EU) Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC addresses the 
protection of habitat and species listed as endangered at the European 
scale (European Union 2008). Several habitat types valuable to 
capercaillie have been included in this Directive, such as in Appendix 
I, Section 9, Forests. The EU Bird Directive (79/407/EEC) lists the 
capercaillie in Annex I as a ``species that shall be subject to special 
habitat conservation measures in order to ensure their survival.'' 
Under this Directive, a network of Special Protected Areas (SPAs) 
comprising suitable habitat for Annex I species is to be designated. 
This network of SPAs and other protected sites are collectively 
referred to as Natura 2000. Several countries in Europe, including 
Spain, are in the process of establishing the network of SPAs. The 
remaining Cantabrian capercaillie populations occur primarily in 
recently established Natural Reserves in Spain that are part of the 
Natura 2000 network (Muniellos Biosphere Reserve). Management of 
natural resources by local communities is still allowed in areas 
designated as an SPA; however, the development of management plans to 
meet the various objectives of the Reserve network is required.
    This subspecies is also afforded special protection under the Bern 
Convention (Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and 
Natural Habitats; European Treaty Series/104; Council of Europe 1979). 
The Cantabrian capercaillie is listed as ``strictly protected'' under 
Appendix II, which requires member states to ensure the conservation of 
the listed taxa and their habitats. Under this Convention, protections 
of Appendix-II species include the prohibition of: The deliberate 
capture, keeping, and killing of the species; deliberate damage or 
destruction of breeding sites; deliberate disturbance during the 
breeding season; deliberate taking or destruction of eggs; and the 
possession or trade of any individual of the species. We were unable to 
find information on the effectiveness of this designation in preventing 
further loss of Cantabrian capercaillie or its habitat; however, 
poaching of protected grouse is known to be common, suggesting that 
this designation has not been effectively implemented.

[[Page 50057]]

    In November 2003, Spain enacted the ``Forest Law,'' which addresses 
the preservation and improvement of the forest and rangelands in Spain. 
This law requires development of plans for the management of forest 
resources, which are to include plans for fighting forest fires, 
establishment of danger zones based on fire risk, formulation of a 
defense plan in each established danger zone, the mandatory restoration 
of burned area, and the prohibition of changing forest use of a burned 
area into other uses for a period of 30 years. In addition, this law 
provides economic incentives for sustainable forest management by 
private landowners and local entities. We do not have information on 
the effectiveness of this law with regard to its ability to prevent 
negative impacts to Cantabrian capercaillie habitat.
    Despite recent advances in protection of this subspecies and its 
habitat through EU Directives and protection under Spanish law and 
regulation, populations continue to decline (Ba[ntilde]uelos and 
Quevedo 2008, p. 5; Storch et al. 2006, p. 654; Pollo et al. 2005, p. 
401), habitat continues to be degraded, lost, and fragmented (Storch 
2000, p. 83; 2007, p. 96), and illegal poaching still occurs (Storch 
2000, p. 83; 2007, p. 96). We were unable to find information on the 
effectiveness of any of these measures at reducing threats to the 
species. Therefore, we find that existing regulatory mechanisms are 
inadequate to ameliorate the current threats to the Cantabrian 
capercaillie throughout its range.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    Suarez-Seoane and Roves (2004, pp. 395, 401) assessed the potential 
impacts of human disturbances in core populations of Cantabrian 
capercaillie in Natural Reserves in Spain. They found that locations 
selected as leks were located at the core of larger patches of forest 
and were less subject to human disturbance. They also found that 
Cantabrian capercaillie disappeared from leks situated in rolling hills 
at lower altitudes closer to houses, hunting sites, and repeatedly 
burned areas.
    Recurring fires have also been implicated as a factor in the 
decline of the subspecies. An average of 85,652 ha (211,650 ac) of 
forested area per year over a 10-year period (1995-2005) has been 
consumed by fire in Spain (Lloyd 2007a, p. 1). On average, 80 percent 
of all fires in Spain are set intentionally by humans (Lloyd 2007a, p. 
1). Suarez-Seoane and Garcia-Roves (2004, p. 405) found that the 
stability of Cantabrian capercaillie breeding areas throughout a 20-
year period was mainly related to low fire recurrence in the 
surrounding area and few houses nearby. In addition, the species avoids 
areas that are recurrently burned because the areas lose their ability 
to regenerate and cannot produce the habitat the species requires 
(Suarez-Seoane and Garcia-Roves 2004, p. 406). We were unable to find 
information as to how many hectares of suitable Cantabrian capercaillie 
habitat is consumed by fire each year. However, since the species 
requires a low recurrence of fire, and both disturbance and fire 
frequency are likely to increase with human presence, this could be a 
potential threat to both habitat and individual birds where there is a 
high prevalence of disturbance and fire frequency.
    In summary, disturbance from humans appears to impact the species; 
birds are typically found in areas of less anthropogenic disturbance 
and further from homes. Natural Protected Areas in Spain have seen an 
increase in human use for recreation and hunting. As human population 
centers expand and move closer to occupied habitat areas, increased 
disturbance to important breeding, feeding, and sheltering behaviors of 
this species is expected to occur. Additionally, as human presence 
increases, it is likely that both fires and disturbances will increase. 
Either or both of these factors have the potential to impact both 
individuals and their habitat. Therefore, we conclude that other 
natural or manmade factors, in the form of forest fires and 
disturbance, are threats to the continued existence of the Cantabrian 
capercaillie throughout its range.

Status Determination for the Cantabrian Capercaillie

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the Cantabrian capercaillie. The species is 
currently at risk throughout all of its range due to ongoing threats of 
habitat destruction and modification (Factor A), overutilization 
(Factor B), inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D), 
and other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence 
in the form of forest fires and disturbance (Factor E).
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    The Cantabrian capercaillie is the most threatened subspecies of 
capercaillie; the current population is likely less than 1,000 
individuals and continues to decline. Management of forest resources 
for timber production continues to negatively affect forest structure 
and the quality, quantity, and distribution of suitable habitat and the 
structure of the matrix between forest patches, which may be affecting 
the ability of capercaillie to disperse. In addition, hunting of 
Cantabrian capercaillie, although illegal, still occurs. Congregation 
at leks makes this species an easy target and particularly vulnerable 
as poaching of protected grouse is considered common. The level of 
poaching is unknown, but given the small population size and the 
already evident reduced genetic variability, further loss of breeding 
individuals could have a significant impact on the population. 
Regulatory mechanisms are in place to protect the subspecies and its 
habitat, but are inadequate to ameliorate current threats. Furthermore, 
as human population centers expand, increased disturbance to important 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering behaviors is expected, further 
affecting this subspecies. These threats are affecting the quality and 
quantity of suitable habitat, the ability of the species to disperse 
and expand their current range, and may affect the breeding capability 
of the populations. Without regulatory mechanisms to reduce or 
ameliorate these threats, negative impacts to the subspecies will 
continue. In considering these ongoing threats in combination with the 
currently small and declining Cantabrian capercaillie population, we 
determine that the magnitude of these threats are such that this 
subspecies is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range. 
Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we are listing the Cantabrian capercaillie as an 
endangered species throughout all of its range. Because we find that 
the Cantabrian capercaillie is endangered throughout all of its range, 
there is no reason to consider its status in a significant portion of 
its range.

II. Eiao Marquesas Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus percernis aquilonis), 
Previously Referred to as Eiao Polynesian Warbler (Acrocephalus 
mendanae aquilonis and Acrocephalus caffer aquilonis)

Species Description

    Due to the similarity of all the reed-warblers of Polynesia, these 
warblers

[[Page 50058]]

were once considered a single, widespread species known as the long-
billed reed-warbler (Acrocephalus caffer). The 1980 petition from Dr. 
Warren B. King included the Eiao Polynesian warbler (Acrocephalus 
caffer aquilonis), a subspecies of reed-warbler. The subspecies 
aquilonis denoted those warblers found on Eiao Island. The species was 
later split into three separate species: those of the Society Islands 
(Acrocephalus caffer), Tuamotu (A. atyphus), and Marquesas (A. 
mendanae) (Cibois et al. 2007, p. 1151). This subspecies then became 
known as A. mendanae aquilonis. Recent genetic research on Marquesas 
reed-warblers found two independent lineages: warblers found in the 
northern islands of the Marquesas Archipelago (Nuku Hiva, Eiao, 
Hatuta'a, and Ua Huka) and those found on the southern islands (Hiva 
Oa, Tahuata, Ua Pou, and Fatu Iva). As a result, the Marquesas species 
was split into two separate species; those of the four most northern 
islands (A. percernis) and those in the southern islands (A. mendanae). 
The reed-warblers found on Eiao are now classified as a subspecies of 
Northern Marquesas reed-warblers (A. percernis aquilonis) (Cibois et 
al. 2007, pp. 1155, 1160), with a suggested common name of Eiao 
Marquesas reed-warbler (Cibois 2010, pers. comm.).
    The Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler (Eiao reed-warbler) is a large, 
insectivorous reed-warbler of the family Acrocephalidae. It is 
characterized by brown plumage with bright yellow underparts (Cibois et 
al. 2007, p. 1151). The Eiao reed-warbler is endemic to the island of 
Eiao in the French Polynesian Marquesas Archipelago in the Pacific 
Ocean. The Marquesas Archipelago is a territory of France located 
approximately 1,600 km (994 mi) northeast of Tahiti. Eiao Island is one 
of the northernmost islands in the Archipelago and encompasses 40 km\2\ 
(15 mi\2\).
    Population densities of the Eiao reed-warbler are thought to be 
high within the remaining suitable habitat; one singing bird was found 
nearly every 40-50 m (131-164 ft). The total population is estimated at 
more than 2,000 birds (Raust 2007, pers. comm.). This population 
estimate is much larger than the 100-200 individuals last reported in 
1987 by Thibault (as reported in FR 72 20184). It is unknown if the 
population actually increased from 1987 to 2007, or if the differences 
in the population estimates are a result of using different survey 
methodologies. We have no reliable information on the population trend 
of this subspecies.
    Reed-warblers of the Polynesian islands utilize various habitats, 
ranging from shrubby vegetation in dry, lowland areas to humid forest 
in wet montane areas (Cibois et al. 2007, pp. 1151, 1153). Reed-
warblers in general display strong territorial behavior (Cibois et al. 
2007, p. 1152). Like other reed-warblers, the female Marquesas reed-
warblers build the nest with little help from the male; the male 
incubates and broods three to four times a day, but never for more than 
20 minutes at a time (Bruner 1974, p. 93). Vines, coconut fiber, and 
grasses are the most common nesting material (Mosher and Fancy 2002, p. 
8). Warbler nests are found in the tops of trees and on vertical 
branches (Thibault et al. 2002, pp. 166, 169). Bruner (1974, p. 93) 
found the eggs of A. mendanae vary in base color, even within a nest, 
but are all blotched and speckled with white, brown, and black and 
clutch sizes range from two to five eggs. Incubation lasts 9 days and 
the young leave the nest and follow their parents after 10 days (Bruner 
1974, p. 94).

Conservation Status

    Marquesas reed-warblers (A. mendanae) are classified as ``of least 
concern'' by the IUCN (IUCN 2009a, unpaginated). However, it appears 
that the recent split of the Marquesas reed-warblers into the Northern 
and Southern Marquesas reed-warblers is not yet reflected in the IUCN 
assessment. Northern Marquesas reed-warblers (A. percernis) are 
protected under Law Number 95-257 in French Polynesia. The species has 
not been formally considered for listing in the CITES Appendices 
(http://www.cites.org).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    Eiao Island was declared a Nature Reserve in 1971 and is not 
currently inhabited by humans. However, the entire island has been 
heavily impacted by introduced domestic livestock that have become 
feral (Manu 2009, unpaginated). Feral sheep have been identified as the 
main threat to the forest on the island (Thibault et al. 2002, p. 167). 
Sheep and pigs have devastated much of the vegetation and soil on Eiao, 
and native plant species have been largely replaced by introduced 
species (Merlin and Juvik 1992, pp. 604-606). Sheep have overgrazed the 
island, leaving areas completely denuded of vegetation. The exposed 
soil erodes from rainfall, further preventing native plants from 
regenerating (WWF 2001, unpaginated). Currently, only 10-20 percent of 
the island contains suitable habitat for the Eiao reed-warbler (Raust 
2007, pers. comm.). These areas of suitable habitat are likely 
restricted to small refugia inaccessible to the feral livestock. We are 
not aware of any current efforts or future plans to reduce the number 
of feral domestic livestock on the island.
    In summary, the ongoing habitat degradation from overgrazing 
livestock continues to have significant and ongoing impacts to the 
natural habitat for this subspecies. The current level of grazing on 
the island prevents recovery of native vegetation. Without active 
management of the feral livestock population on the island, the 
population of Eiao reed-warblers will continue to be restricted to 
small portions of the island that are inaccessible to the feral 
livestock. Furthermore, although the current estimated population is 
2,000 individuals, the subspecies will not be able to expand to the 
rest of the island and recover beyond this current population level due 
to habitat loss. Because the Eiao reed-warbler is limited to one small 
island, the continuing loss of habitat makes this subspecies extremely 
vulnerable to extinction. Therefore, we find that present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range are 
threats to the continued existence of the Eiao reed-warbler throughout 
its range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    We are unaware of any information currently available that 
indicates the use of this subspecies for any commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purpose. As a result, we are not considering 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes to be a contributing factor to the continued 
existence of the Eiao reed-warbler throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    Avian diseases are a concern for species with restricted ranges and 
small populations, especially if the species is restricted to an 
island. Hawaii's avian malaria is a limiting factor for many species of 
native passerines and is dominant on other remote oceanic islands, 
including French Polynesia (Beadell et al. 2006, p. 2935). This strain 
was found in 9 out of 11 Marquesas reed-warblers collected on Nuku Hiva 
in 1987. However, because these birds were thought to be more robust 
(all Marquesas reed-warblers were

[[Page 50059]]

considered A. mendanae), avian malaria was not thought to pose a threat 
to the species (Beadell et al. 2006, p. 2940). We have no data on 
whether Hawaii's avian malaria is present on Eiao or what effects it 
may have on the population of reed-warblers.
    Black rats (Rattus rattus) were introduced to Eiao, Nuku Hiva, Ua 
Pou, Hiva Oa, Tahuata, and Fatu Iva of the Marquesas Archipelago in the 
early 20th century (Cibois et al. 2007, p. 1159); although Thibault et 
al. (2002, p. 169) state that the presence of black rats on Eiao is 
only suspected. A connection between the presence of rats and the 
decline and extirpation of birds has been well documented (Blanvillain 
et al. 2002, p. 146; Thibault et al. 2002, p. 162; Meyer and Butaud 
2009, pp. 1169-1170). Specifically, predation on eggs, nestlings, or 
adults by rats has been implicated as an important factor in the 
extinction of Pacific island birds (Thibault et al. 2002, p. 162). 
However, Thibault et al. (2002, pp. 165, 169) did not find a 
significant effect of rats on the abundance of Polynesian warblers. It 
is thought that the position of warbler nests on vertical branches 
close to the tops of trees makes them less accessible to rats (Thibault 
et al. 2002, p. 169), even though rats are known to be good climbers.
    The common myna (Acridotheres tristis), an introduced bird species, 
may contribute to the spread of invasive plant species by consuming 
their fruit and may also prey on the eggs and nestlings of native birds 
species or outcompete native bird species for nesting sites. The myna 
is thought to have contributed to the decline of another reed-warbler 
endemic to the Marquesas (A. caffer mendanae) (Global Invasive Species 
Database 2009, unpaginated). Mynas do not currently occur on Eiao 
Island. Furthermore, Thibault et al. (2002, p. 165) found no 
significant effect of mynas on Polynesian warblers in Marquesas. If the 
myna expands its range and colonizes Eiao Island, it is unknown to what 
extent predation would affect the Eiao reed-warbler.
    In summary, although the presence of avian malaria has been 
documented on Eiao and the presence of introduced rats is suspected, 
there is no data indicating that either is affecting the warbler 
population on Eiao. Nest location appears to be high enough in the 
trees to avoid significant predation from the introduced rat. Mynas are 
not known to inhabit Eiao Island, and it is not clear that they would 
negatively impact the warbler population if they were to colonize Eiao. 
Therefore, we find that disease and predation are not a threat to the 
continued existence of the Eiao reed-warbler throughout its range.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Eiao reed-warbler is a protected species in French Polynesia. 
Northern Marquesas reed-warblers (A. percernis) are classified as a 
Category A species under Law Number 95-257. Article 16 of this law 
prohibits the collection and exportation of species listed under 
Category A. In addition, under Part 23 of Law 95-257, the introduced 
myna bird species, which is commonly known to outcompete other bird 
species, is considered a danger to the local avifauna and is listed as 
``threatening biodiversity.'' Part 23 also prohibits importation of all 
new specimens of species listed as ``threatening biodiversity,'' and 
translocation from one island to another is prohibited. As described 
above, Eiao Island is not currently inhabited by humans and we found 
that overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes is not a threat to this subspecies. Furthermore, 
mynas do not occur on Eiao Island and is not a threat to the Eiao reed-
warbler. Although this law may provide adequate protection to this 
subspecies from these threats, it does not protect the Eiao reed-
warbler from current threats such as habitat destruction.
    The French Environmental Code, Article L411-1, prohibits the 
destruction or poaching of eggs or nests; mutilation, destruction, 
capture or poaching, intentional disturbance, the practice of 
taxidermy, transport, peddling, use, possession, offer for sale, and 
the sale or the purchase of non-domesticated species in need of 
conservation, including northern Marquesas reed-warblers (A. 
percernis). It also prohibits the destruction, alteration, or 
degradation of habitat for these species. As overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is not a 
threat to this subspecies, this regulation may provide adequate 
protection against this threat; however, habitat destruction by 
overgrazing livestock remains a problem on Eiao Island. Therefore this 
regulation does not provide adequate protection against threats 
currently faced by this subspecies.
    Hunting and destruction of all species of birds in French Polynesia 
were prohibited by a 1967 decree (Villard et al. 2003, p. 193); 
however, destruction of birds which have been listed as ``threatening 
biodiversity'' is legal. Furthermore, restrictions on possession of 
firearms in Marquesas are in place (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). 
Hunting is not known to be a threat to the survival of this subspecies.
    In addition, the entire Eiao Island was declared an officially 
protected area in 1971. It is classified as Category IV, an area 
managed for habitat or species. However, of the nine protected areas in 
French Polynesia, only one (Vaikivi on Ua Huka) is actively managed 
(Manu 2009, unpaginated). We found no information on the direct effects 
of this protective status on the Eiao reed-warbler or its habitat. 
However, Eiao Island is not actively managed and, as discussed under 
Factor A, the entire island has been heavily impacted by introduced 
domestic livestock, suggesting this regulatory mechanism is not 
effective at reducing or ameliorating threats to the species.
    In summary, regulations exist that protect the subspecies and its 
habitat. However, as described under Factor A, habitat destruction 
continues to threaten this subspecies. Although legal protections are 
in place, there are none effectively protecting the suitable habitat on 
the island from damage from overgrazing sheep and other livestock as 
described in Factor A. Therefore, we find that the existing regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to ameliorate the current threats to the Eiao 
reed-warbler throughout its range.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    Island populations have a higher risk of extinction than mainland 
populations. Ninety percent of bird species that have been driven to 
extinction were island species (as cited in Frankham 1997, p. 311). 
Based on genetics alone, endemic island species are predicted to have 
higher extinction rates than nonendemic island populations (Frankham 
2007, p. 321). Small, isolated populations may experience decreased 
demographic viability (population birth and death rates, immigration 
and emigration rates, and sex ratios), increased susceptibility of 
extinction from stochastic environmental factors (e.g., weather events, 
disease), and an increased threat of extinction from genetic isolation 
and subsequent inbreeding depression and genetic drift.
    Because the population of Eiao reed-warblers is restricted to only 
one small island, it is vulnerable to stochastic events. Furthermore, 
the warblers are limited to the fraction of the island's area that 
contains suitable habitat. Eradication of feral livestock is needed to 
allow recovery of native vegetation and provide additional suitable 
habitat throughout the island. Expansion and

[[Page 50060]]

recovery of native vegetation will permit the subspecies to recover 
beyond the current population of 2,000 individuals and buffer the 
subspecies against impacts from stochastic events.
    In summary, the limited range of the Eiao reed-warbler makes this 
subspecies extremely vulnerable to stochastic events and, therefore, 
extinction. Additional habitat is needed to expand the population and 
buffer the subspecies from the detrimental effects typical of small 
island populations. Therefore, we find that other natural or manmade 
factors threaten the continued existence of the Eiao reed-warbler 
throughout its range.

Status Determination for the Eiao Marquesas Reed-Warbler

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler. The subspecies 
is currently at risk on Eiao Island due to ongoing threats of habitat 
destruction and modification (Factor A) and stochastic events 
associated with the subspecies' restricted range (Factor E). 
Furthermore, we have determined that the existing regulatory mechanisms 
(Factor D) are not adequate to ameliorate the current threats to the 
subspecies.
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range,'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    The estimated 2,000 Eiao reed-warblers are isolated on one 40 km\2\ 
(15 mi\2\) island, of which only 10-20 percent contains suitable 
habitat. The ongoing habitat degradation from overgrazing livestock 
prevents recovery of native vegetation. Although the current estimated 
population is 2,000 individuals, without active management of the feral 
livestock population on the island, the population of Eiao reed-
warblers will continue to be restricted to small portions of the island 
and will not be able to expand to the rest of the island and recover 
beyond this current population level. Because the Eiao reed-warbler is 
limited to one small island, the continuing loss of habitat makes this 
subspecies extremely vulnerable to stochastic events and extinction. 
Island populations are naturally at a higher risk of extinction. 
Detrimental effects typical of small island populations, such as, 
decreased demographic viability, environmental factors, and genetic 
isolation, may lead to inbreeding depression and reduced fitness. These 
genetic threats will exacerbate other threats to the species and likely 
increase the risk of extinction. There are regulatory mechanisms in 
place, but are inadequate to protect the Eiao reed-warbler's habitat 
from overgrazing and eradication of native species. Without regulatory 
mechanisms to reduce or ameliorate these threats, negative impacts to 
this subspecies will continue. Based on the magnitude of overgrazing 
livestock to the extremely restricted range and isolated population of 
the Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler, as described above, we determine that 
this subspecies is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range. 
Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we are listing the Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler as an 
endangered subspecies throughout all of its range. Because we find that 
the Eiao Polynesian warbler is endangered throughout all of its range, 
there is no reason to consider its status in a significant portion of 
its range.

III. Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)

Species Description

    The greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) is a very large (145 to 
150 cm long (4.7 to 4.9 ft)) species of stork in the family Ciconiidae. 
This species is characterized by a naked pink head and a low-hanging 
neck pouch. Its bill is very thick and yellow in color. The plumage 
ruff of the neck is white, and other than a pale grey leading edge on 
each wing, the rest of the greater adjutant's body is dark grey 
(Birdlife International (BLI) 2009a, unpaginated).
    This species of bird once was common across much of Southeast Asia, 
occurring in India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, 
Myanmar, Vietnam, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo. Large breeding colonies 
occurred in Myanmar, with the highest concentration found in Pegu; 
however, this colony collapsed in the mid-1900s (Singha and Rahmani 
2006, p. 264).
    The current distribution of this species consists of two breeding 
populations, one in India and the other in Cambodia. Recent sighting 
records of this species from the neighboring countries of Nepal, 
Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand are presumed to be wandering birds 
from one of the two populations in India and Cambodia (BLI 2009a, 
unpaginated).
    India: The most recent range-wide population estimate for this 
species in India (600 to 800 birds) comes from data collected in 1995 
through 1996 (Singha et al. 2003, p. 146). Approximately 11 breeding 
sites are located in the Brahmaputra Valley in the State of Assam 
(Singha et al. 2003, p.147). Recent information indicates that 
populations of this species continue to decline in India. At two 
breeding sites near the city of Guwahati in the State of Assam, the 
most recent survey data show that the number of breeding birds has 
declined from 247 birds in 2005 to 118 birds in 2007 (Hindu 2007, 
unpaginated).
    In India, much of the greater adjutant's native habitat has been 
lost. The greater adjutant uses habitat in three national parks in 
India; however, almost all nesting colonies in India are found outside 
of the national parks. The greater adjutant often occurs close to urban 
areas; the species feeds in and around wetlands in the breeding season, 
and disperses to scavenge at trash dumps, burial grounds, and slaughter 
houses at other times of the year. The natural diet of the greater 
adjutant consists primarily of fish, frogs, reptiles, small mammals and 
birds, crustaceans, and carrion (Singha and Rahmani 2006, p. 266).
    This species breeds in colonies during the dry season (winter) in 
stands of tall trees near water sources. In India, the greater adjutant 
prefers to nest in large, widely branched trees in a tightly spaced 
colony with little foliage cover and food sources nearby (Singha et al. 
2002, p. 214). The breeding sites are also commonly associated with 
bamboo forests which provide protection from heavy rain during the pre-
monsoon season (Singha et al. 2002, p. 218). Each adult female greater 
adjutant commonly lays two eggs each year (Singha and Rahmani 2006, p. 
266).
    Cambodia: Currently there are two known breeding populations in 
Cambodia. The larger of these two populations occurs in the Tonle Sap 
Biosphere Reserve (TSBR) near Tonle Sap Lake and has recently been 
estimated at 77 breeding pairs (Clements et al. 2007, p. 7). The Tonle 
Sap floodplain (and associated rivers) is considered one of the few 
remaining remnants of freshwater swamp forest in the region. 
Approximately 5,490 km\2\ (2,120 mi\2\) of the freshwater swamp forest 
ecoregion is protected in Cambodia. Of this, the Tonle Sap Great Lake 
Protected Area (which includes the Tonle Sap floodplain) makes up 5,420 
km\2\ (2,092 mi\2\) (WWF 2007, p. 3).
    A smaller population of greater adjutants was recently discovered 
in the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains of 
Cambodia. This population has been estimated at 40 birds (Clements 
2008, pers. comm.; BLI 2009, unpaginated). Although other

[[Page 50061]]

breeding sites have not yet been found in Cambodia, researchers expect 
that the greater adjutant may nest along the Mekong River in the 
eastern provinces of Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng, and Kratie in 
Cambodia (Clement 2008, pers. comm.).
    In Cambodia, the greater adjutant breeds in freshwater flooded 
forest, and disperses to seasonally inundated forest, tall wet 
grasslands, mangroves, and intertidal flats to forage. These forests 
are characterized by deciduous tropical hardwoods (Dipterocarpaceae 
family) and semi-evergreen forest (containing a mix of deciduous and 
evergreen trees) interspersed with meadows, ponds, and other wetlands 
(WWF 2006b, p. 1).

Conservation Status

    The IUCN classifies the greater adjutant as critically endangered. 
In India, the greater adjutant is listed under Schedule I of the Indian 
Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The species is not listed in the 
Appendices of CITES (http://www.cites.org).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Greater Adjutant

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    India: The greater adjutant occurs in Kaziranga, Manas, and Diburu-
Saikhowa National Parks. However, nearly all breeding sites for this 
species are located outside of protected areas (Singha et al. 2003, p. 
148). The ongoing loss of habitat through conversion for development 
and agriculture, and the clearing of trees that are suitable for 
breeding sites, is a primary threat to the greater adjutant. The recent 
decline in the population at the breeding colonies near Guwahai, India, 
is believed to be caused by tree removal at the breeding site and 
filling of wetlands in an area near the city that had been used by the 
greater adjutant as feeding areas (Hindu 2007, unpaginated). These 
activities were undertaken for the purpose of expanding residential 
developments in the city. The species is also seasonally dependent on 
wetlands for forage. These sites are impacted in India by drainage, 
encroachment, and overfishing. For instance, some sites have reportedly 
experienced encroachment from rice cultivation (BLI 2001, p. 284).
    Singha et al. 2002 (pp. 218-219) found that preferred nest trees 
were significantly larger and different in structure to non-nest trees 
near Nagaon in central Assam. The nest trees were large and widely 
branched with thin foliage cover (Singha et al. 2002, p. 214). 
Researchers believe that removal of preferred nesting trees at breeding 
may result in adjutants nesting in suboptimal trees at existing nest 
sites or relocating to other suboptimal nest sites. The trees and their 
limbs at suboptimal breeding sites are smaller in diameter, and the 
structure of the limbs does not always support the combined weight of 
the nest, adults, and chicks. As chicks grow older, nest limbs often 
break, sending the half-grown chicks tumbling from the nest. 
Approximately 15 percent of chicks die after falling from their nests, 
for a variety of causes, including injuries and abandonment (Singha et 
al. 2006, p. 315). Some efforts have been made to reduce chick 
mortality, like those employed at two breeding sites near Nagaon from 
2001 to 2003 (Singha et al. 2006, pp. 315-320). Safety nets are placed 
under the canopy of nest trees to catch falling chicks. Chicks are 
either replaced in their nest, if onsite monitors can determine which 
nest the chick came from, or raised in captivity and later released. 
Juvenile birds were monitored after their release, and the program is 
considered a success (Singha and Rahmani 2006, p. 268; Singha et al. 
2006, pp. 315-320). Though some efforts have been undertaken to reduce 
chick mortality due to falls from nests, loss of chicks based on 
nesting in suboptimal breeding sites is likely still occurring at other 
breeding sites.
    Cambodia: The largest breeding colonies are located in the Tonle 
Sap Biosphere Reserve, which consists primarily of the Tonle Sap Lake 
and its floodplain. A second breeding population occurs in the Kulen 
Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains. Poole (2002, p. 35) 
reported that large nesting trees around Cambodia's Tonle Sap 
floodplain, particularly crucial to greater adjutants for nesting, are 
under increasing pressure by felling for firewood and building 
material. Poole (2002, p. 35) concluded that a lack of nesting trees, 
both at Tonle Sap and in the Northern Plains, may be the most serious 
threat in the future to large water bird colonies.
    The Mekong River Basin flows through several countries in Southeast 
Asia, including Tibet, China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and 
Laos, traveling over 4,800 km (2,980 mi) from start to finish. In 
Cambodia, the Mekong River flows into the Tonle Sap floodplain. Tonle 
Sap Lake expands and contracts throughout the year as a result of 
rainfall from monsoons and the flow of the Mekong River. The lake acts 
as a storage reservoir at different times of the year to regulate 
flooding in the Mekong Delta (Davidson 2005, p. 3). This flooding also 
results in flooded forests and shrublands, which provides seasonal 
habitat to several species. The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is one of 
Southeast Asia's most important wetlands for biodiversity and is 
particularly crucial for birds, reptiles, and plant assemblages 
(Davidson 2005, p. 6).
    Upstream developments in the Mekong have already led to significant 
trapping of sediments and nutrients in upstream reservoirs, which could 
lead to increased bed and bank erosion downstream, as well as decreased 
productivity (Kummu and Varis 2007, pp. 289, 291). According to the 
Asian Development Bank (ADB 2005, p. 2), 13 dams have been built, are 
being built, or are proposed to be built along the Mekong River. 
Proposed hydroelectric dams along the Mekong River in countries 
upstream from Cambodia have the potential to adversely affect the 
habitat of the greater adjutant by affecting the hydrology of the basin 
and reducing the overall foraging habitat and the abundance of prey 
species during the breeding season (Clements et al. 2007, p. 59). In 
addition, decline in productivity of the habitat, and thereby prey 
species abundance, may increase competition for food, and increased 
releases from upstream dams during the dry season could result in 
permanent flooding of these forests that will eventually kill the trees 
in these areas (Clements et al. 2007, p. 59). Under some scenarios, up 
to half of the core area (21,342 ha (52,737 ac)) of the Prek Toal area 
in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve could be affected.
    In summary, this species continues to face significant ongoing 
threats to its breeding and foraging habitat in both India and 
Cambodia. In India, activities such as the draining and filling of 
wetlands (Hindu 2007, unpaginated), removal of nest trees, and 
encroachment on habitat significantly impact this species (BLI 2001, p. 
284). In Cambodia, threats include tree removal (Poole 2002, p. 35) and 
large-scale hydrologic changes due to existing dams and proposed dam 
construction (Clements et al. 2007, p. 59; Kummu and Varis, pp. 287-
288). The latter threat could potentially eliminate habitat in 
protected areas such as the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, and it could 
additionally reduce productivity of these areas, which would further 
impact the species by affecting the foraging base and potentially 
increasing competition with other species (Clements et al. 2007, p. 
59). Therefore, we find that the present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range is a threat to the 
continued existence of the greater adjutant throughout its range.

[[Page 50062]]

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    The main threat to the greater adjutant is harvesting of eggs, 
chicks, or young fledglings (Clements 2008, pers. comm.). Local 
communities collect bird eggs and chicks for consumption and for trade 
in both India and Cambodia. Due to their rarity, greater adjutants are 
believed to have a high market value, which increases the likelihood 
this type of activity will continue. The implementation of bird nest 
protection programs has been developed by the Wildlife Conservation 
Society. Local people have been employed as nest protectors at Prek 
Toal and Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (ACCB 2009, unpaginated; 
Clements 2008, pers. comm.). Although the impacts from large-scale 
collection of bird eggs and chicks have been reduced through these 
programs, collection still remains a threat to the species. 
Furthermore, unprotected colonies are likely disturbed every year and 
may not successfully breed (Clements 2008, pers. comm.). At the largest 
breeding sites for this species in India, reproductive success is low, 
less than one chick per nest per year (Singha and Rahmani 2006, p. 
264). Because the total population of the greater adjutant is fewer 
than 1,000 birds, the loss of any eggs or chicks in populations in 
India and Cambodia is a significant threat to the species.
    Accounts of poisoning, netting, trapping, and shooting of adult 
birds were also reported at various locations in both India and 
Cambodia during the 1990s (BLI 2001, pp. 285-286). In India, some birds 
were shot because of perceived impact on fish stocks; others, in hunts 
(BLI 2001, p. 285). In Cambodia, some birds were captured to be sold as 
food and for use as pets, and some were also hunted (BLI 2001, p. 286). 
Birds are also likely inadvertently injured or killed as a result of 
destructive fishing techniques in Cambodia such as electro-fishing and 
the use of poisons (Clements 2008, pers. comm.). In a 1999 article, the 
Phnom Penh Post (as reported in Environmental Justice Foundation 2002, 
p. 25) reported that pesticides are used to kill both fish and wildlife 
species at Tonle Sap.
    In summary, although we are unaware of any scientific or 
educational purpose for which the adjutant is used, local communities 
are known to collect bird eggs, chicks, and adults for consumption and 
other purposes (e.g., pet trade and perceived threat to fish stocks) in 
either or both India or Cambodia (BLI 2001, pp. 285-286). Incidence of 
local residents collecting eggs and chicks for consumption has been 
reduced in some areas due to educational and enforcement programs, 
however, these impacts still occur. Therefore, we find that 
overutilization due to commercial and recreational purposes is a threat 
to the continued existence of the greater adjutant throughout its 
range.

C. Disease or Predation

    Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 continues to be a 
serious problem for this species. This strain of avian influenza first 
appeared in Asia in 1996, and spread from country to country with rapid 
succession as found by Peterson et al. (2007, p. 1). By 2006, the virus 
was detected across most of Europe and in several African countries. 
Influenza A viruses, to which group strain H5N1 belongs, infects 
domestic animals and humans, but wildfowl and shorebirds are considered 
the primary source of this virus in nature (Olsen et al. 2006, p. 384). 
Though it is still unclear if the greater adjutant is a carrier, lack 
of an avian influenza wild bird surveillance program in Cambodia will 
make it difficult to resolve this question.
    Until recently, there was no information on predation affecting the 
greater adjutant. However, recent research on other waterbirds suggests 
that predation may impact the greater adjutant in Cambodia. For 
example, nesting surveys for several waterbirds were conducted between 
2004 and 2007 at the Prek Toal area in Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. 
These surveys included monitoring of nest sites. Human disturbances at 
nest sites due to illegal collection of chicks and eggs resulted in an 
increase of predation by crows (Corvus spp.) on spot-billed pelicans in 
the 2001-2002 breeding season, causing up to 100 percent loss of 
reproduction, and again in the 2002-2003 breeding season, resulting in 
up to 60 percent loss in reproduction due to a combination of 
collection and predation. In some locations, the spot-billed pelicans 
abandoned their nests for the remainder of the breeding season 
(Clements et al. 2007, p. 57). It is likely that other waterbirds, such 
as the greater adjutant, at Prek Toal would be similarly affected due 
to illegal collection of eggs by humans and nest site disturbance (see 
Factor B), and the subsequent increase in crow presence, thereby 
increasing the predation of their chicks and eggs.
    In summary, we found no information indicating that avian diseases 
are impacting greater adjusts. However, research on other waterbirds in 
the same area as the greater adjutant found a significant impact on 
reproduction from predation by crows. Presence of crows was found in 
conjunction with human disturbances, such as illegal collection of eggs 
and chicks. Greater adjutant eggs and chicks are known to also be 
subjected to this type of human disturbance (See Factor B); therefore 
greater adjutants may also suffer impacts from predation by crows. 
Because the total population of the greater adjutant is fewer than 
1,000 birds, and reproductive success for this species at the largest 
breeding sites in India is less than one chick per nest per year, the 
loss of any eggs and chicks in populations in India and Cambodia is a 
significant threat to the species. Therefore, we find that predation is 
a threat to the continued existence of the greater adjutant throughout 
its range.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Although there is evidence of commercial trade across the Cambodia 
border into Laos and Thailand, this species is currently not listed 
under CITES.
    India: The greater adjutant is listed under Schedule I of the 
Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 (IWPA). Schedule I provides 
absolute protection, with the greatest penalties for offenses. This law 
prohibits hunting, possession, sale, and transport of listed species. 
The IWPA also provides for the designation and management of 
sanctuaries and national parks for the purposes of protecting, 
propagating, or developing wildlife or its environment. As stated above 
in Factor A, the ongoing loss of habitat through habitat conversion for 
development and agriculture is a primary threat to this species. 
Furthermore, greater adjutant eggs and chicks are known to be taken for 
local consumption and trade, and adult birds are known to be poisoned, 
netted, and trapped for various reasons. Therefore, this regulatory 
mechanism is not adequate to ameliorate these threats to this species.
    Protected areas in India allow for regulated levels of human use 
and disturbance and are managed to prevent widespread clearing and 
complete loss of suitable habitat. Although the greater adjutant uses 
habitat in three national parks in India, almost all nesting colonies 
of this species in India are found outside of protected areas (Singha 
et al. 2003, p. 148). Some of the species' foraging areas are also 
located outside of protected areas. Ongoing loss of habitat through 
habitat conversion for development and agriculture is a primary threat 
to this species; therefore,

[[Page 50063]]

it appears that regulatory mechanisms outside of protected areas, such 
as national parks, do not provide adequate protection of habitat for 
the greater adjutant.
    Cambodia: Areas designated as natural areas by the Ministry of 
Environment, such as the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, are to be managed 
for the protection of the natural resources contained within. Portions 
of the Biosphere Reserve have also been designated as areas of 
importance under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance 
of 1971.
    The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was formed between the 
governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam in 1995 as part 
of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of 
the Mekong River Basin. The signatories agreed to jointly manage their 
shared water resources and the economic development of the river (MRC 
2007, p. 1-2). According to the Asian Development Bank, 13 dams have 
been built, are being built, or are proposed to be built along the 
Mekong River (ADB 2005, p. 2). The continued modification of greater 
adjutant habitat has been identified as a primary threat to this 
species (Factor A), and this regional regulatory mechanism is not 
effective at reducing that threat.
    Several laws exist in Cambodia to protect the greater adjutant from 
two of the primary threats to the species: Habitat destruction and 
hunting. However, they are ineffective at reducing those threats. In 
Cambodia, Declaration No. 359, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, 
Forestry and Fisheries in 1994, prohibits the hunting of greater 
adjutant. However, reports of severe hunting pressure within the 
greater adjutant's habitat exist and illegal poaching of wildlife in 
Cambodia continues (Bird et al. 2006, p. 23; Poole 2002, pp. 34-35; 
UNEP-SEF 2005, pp. 23, 27).
    The Creation and Designation of Protected Areas regulation 
(November 1993) established a national system of protected areas. In 
1994, through Declaration No. 1033 on the Protection of Natural Areas, 
the following activities were banned in all protected areas:
    (1) Construction of saw mills, charcoal ovens, brick kilns, tile 
kilns, limestone ovens, tobacco ovens;
    (2) Hunting or placement of traps for tusks, bones, feathers, 
horns, leather, or blood;
    (3) Deforestation;
    (4) Mining minerals or use of explosives;
    (5) The use of domestic animals such as dogs;
    (6) Dumping of pollutants;
    (7) The use of machines or heavy cars which may cause smoke 
pollution;
    (8) Noise pollution; and
    (9) Unpermitted research and experiments.

In addition, the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource 
Management of 1996 sets forth general provisions for environmental 
protection. Under Article 8 of this law, Cambodia declares that its 
natural resources (including wildlife) shall be conserved, developed, 
and managed and used in a rational and sustainable manner.
    Protected Areas have been established within the range of the 
greater adjutant, such as the Tonle Sap Lake Biosphere Reserve. The 
Tonle Sap Great Lake protected area was designated a multipurpose 
protected area in 1993 (Matsui et al. 2006, p. 411). Under this decree, 
Multiple Use Management Areas are those areas which provide for the 
sustainable use of water resources, timber, wildlife, fish, pasture, 
and recreation; the conservation of nature is primarily oriented to 
support these economic activities. In 1997, the Tonle Sap region was 
nominated as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's (United Nations 
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) ``Man and the 
Biosphere Program.'' The Cambodian Government developed a National 
Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) in 1997, supporting the UNESCO site 
goals. Among the priority areas of intervention are fisheries and 
floodplain agriculture at Tonle Sap Lake, biodiversity and protected 
areas, and environmental education. NEAP was followed by the adoption 
of the Strategy and Action Plan for the Protection of Tonle Sap 
(SAPPTS) in February 1998 (Matsui et al. 2006, p. 411), and the 
issuance of a Royal Decree officially creating Tonle Sap Lake Biosphere 
Reserve (TSBR) on April 10, 2001. The royal decree was followed by a 
subdecree by the Prime Minister to establish a Secretariat, along with 
its roles and functions, for the TSBR with the understanding that its 
objectives could not be achieved without cooperation and coordination 
among relevant stakeholders (TSBR Secretariat 2007, p. 1).
    Joint Declaration No. 1563, on the Suppression of Wildlife 
Destruction in the Kingdom of Cambodia, was issued by the Ministry of 
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1996. Although the Japan 
International Cooperation Agency (JICA 1999, p. 19) reported that this 
regulatory measure was ineffectively enforced, some strides have been 
made recently through the combined efforts of WCS, the Cambodian 
Government, and local communities at Tonle Sap Lake. WCS Cambodia 
(2009, unpaginated) reports that the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia 
is ``enormous'' and driven by demand for meat and traditional medicines 
in Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Substantial progress has been made in 
protecting seven species of waterbirds at Prek Toal Core Area in the 
TSBR, increasing populations of some species tenfold by working with 
the primary management agencies and working at the field level to 
improve community engagement, law enforcement, and long-term research 
and monitoring (WCS Cambodia 2009, unpaginated).
    The Forestry Law of 2002 strictly prohibits hunting, harming, or 
harassing wildlife (Article 49) (Law on Forestry 2003). This law 
further prohibits the possession, trapping, transport, or trade in rare 
and endangered wildlife (Article 49). However, to our knowledge, 
Cambodia has not yet published a list of endangered or rare species. 
Thus, this law is not currently effective at protecting the greater 
adjutant from threats by hunting.
    In 2006, the Cambodian Government created Integrated Farming and 
Biodiversity Areas (IFBA), including over 161 km (100 mi) of grassland 
(over 30,000 ha (74,132 ac)) near Tonle Sap Lake to protect the Bengal 
florican, an endangered bird in that region (WWF 2006a, pp. 1-2). The 
above measures have focused attention on the conservation situation at 
TSBR and have begun to improve the conservation of the area and its 
wildlife there, but several management challenges remain. These 
challenges include overexploitation of flooded forests and fisheries; 
negative impacts from invasive species; lack of monitoring and 
enforcement; low level of public awareness of biodiversity values; and 
uncoordinated research, monitoring, and evaluation of species' 
populations (Matsui et al. 2006, pp. 409-418; TSBR Secretariat 2007, 
pp. 1-6).
    Even though the wildlife laws discussed above exist, greater 
adjutant habitat within Cambodian protected areas faces several 
challenges. The legal framework governing wetlands management is 
institutionally complex. It rests upon legislation vested in government 
agencies responsible for land use planning (Land Law 2001), resource 
use (Fishery Law 1987), and environmental conservation (Environmental 
Law 1996, Royal Decree on the Designation and Creation of National 
Protected Areas System 1993); however, there is no interministerial 
coordinating mechanism nationally for

[[Page 50064]]

wetland planning and management (Bonheur et al. 2005, p. 9). As a 
result of this institutional complexity and lack of defined 
jurisdiction, natural resource use goes largely unregulated (Bonheur et 
al. 2005, p. 9). Thus, the protected areas system in Cambodia is 
ineffective in removing or reducing the threats of habitat modification 
and hunting faced by the greater adjutant.
    Existing regulatory mechanisms in both India and Cambodia are 
ineffective at reducing or removing threats to the species such as 
habitat modification and collection of eggs and chicks for consumption. 
Although progress has been made recently in the protection of nests and 
birds at specific locations, this has largely been driven by measures 
from the private sector. We believe that the inadequacy of regulatory 
mechanisms, especially with regard to lack of law enforcement and 
habitat protection, is a significant risk factor for the greater 
adjutant. Therefore, we find that existing regulatory mechanisms are 
inadequate to ameliorate the current threats to the greater adjutant 
throughout its range.

E. Other Natural or Man-Made Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    India: Due to a lack of natural foraging areas and availability of 
native wildlife carcasses to feed upon, the greater adjutant is known 
to commonly forage in refuge dumps and slaughterhouses during certain 
times of the year. Researchers believe that along with the refuse at 
these sites, these birds are inadvertently ingesting household 
contaminants and plastics that can adversely affect their health and 
reproductive capability (Singha et al. 2003, p. 148; BLI 2009a, 
unpaginated). In addition, pesticide has been used in winter to kill 
fish at a national park in India, and may be a widespread practice 
throughout the Brahmaputra lowlands (BLI 2001, p. 287). As the 
remaining natural foraging habitat for this species continues to 
shrink, the level of foraging at refuge dumps and slaughterhouses is 
expected to increase, thereby increasing the incidence of greater 
adjutants ingesting contaminants at these sites. Also, the use of 
pesticides in and near water sources in the Brahmaputra lowlands may 
result in further contamination to the species.
    Cambodia: Increasing use of agro-chemicals, especially pesticides, 
is a major concern in the TSBR and throughout Cambodia. A survey 
conducted of Cambodian agricultural practices in 2000 showed that 67 
percent of farms used pesticides. Of these farms, 44 percent began 
using pesticides in the 1980s, and 23 percent began using them in the 
1990s (Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) 2002, p. 13). All of the 
pesticides used in Cambodia are produced outside of the country, and 
the labels, which include information on the appropriate use of these 
chemicals, are often not written in a language understandable to local 
villagers (EJF 2002, p. 18). A Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations (FAO) study found that only 1 percent of vegetable 
farmers received technical training in pesticide use (EJF 2002, p. 17). 
This problem often leads to overuse of these highly toxic compounds.
    In Cambodia, organochlorine insecticides, such as dichloro-
diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), and organophosphate insecticides such 
as methyl-parathion are commonly used. Organochlorine insecticides are 
known to accumulate in aquatic systems and concentrate in the organs of 
species of waterbirds such as the greater adjutant. The effects of 
persistent organic pesticides are variable depending on concentration 
and species, but can include direct mortality, feminization of embryos, 
reduced hormones for egg-laying, and egg-shell thinning (EJF 2002, p. 
24).
    In the 1970s and 1980s, agricultural use of DDT was banned in most 
developed countries; however, it is still used for agriculture in 
Cambodia. In recent years, mong bean farmers in Siem Reap province are 
estimated to have applied 10 tons of a pesticide mix of DDT, Thiodan 
(endosulfan), and methyl-parathion on fields that are submerged in the 
wet season and thus capable of polluting the Tonle Sap basin (EJF 2002, 
p. 25). In addition, methyl-parathion and endosulfan are used in 
illegal fishing (EJF 2002, p. 14). Methyl-parathion is considered 
highly toxic to birds and may take 2 weeks to degrade in lakes and 
rivers. The decline in the number of some bird species from around the 
Tonle Sap Lake may be partly due to pesticide poisoning (EJF 2002, p. 
25). Further, because higher levels of persistent organochlorines have 
been recorded in freshwater fish and mussels than marine fish and 
mussels, the source of these compounds is likely inland watersheds (EJF 
2002, p. 24). Although we could not locate any specific contaminant 
reports on the amount of these toxic chemicals found in greater 
adjutants based on the above data, it is likely that the persistent use 
of these compounds is contributing to the decline of this species.
    In summary, the use of pesticides occurs in both India and Cambodia 
for a variety of reasons, including agriculture, fishing, and insect 
control. As human interactions with the adjutant continue to increase, 
the chances of poisoning of the species, both directly and indirectly, 
also continue to rise. Therefore we find that other natural or manmade 
factors affecting the continued existence of the species in the form of 
pesticide use and ingesting other contaminants is a threat to the 
greater adjutant throughout its range.

Status Determination for the Greater Adjutant

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the greater adjutant. The species is currently 
at risk throughout all of its range due to ongoing threats of habitat 
destruction and modification (Factor A); overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes in the 
form of hunting, egg and chick collection, and trapping (Factor B); 
predation (Factor C); inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms 
(Factor D); and other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence in the form of toxic compounds and other 
contaminants (Factor E).
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range,'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    In both India and Cambodia, breeding and foraging areas continue to 
be threatened by draining and filling of wetlands, removal of nest 
trees, and encroachment on habitat. Within Cambodia, existing dam 
construction and proposed dam construction have and are likely to 
continue to cause large-scale hydrologic changes and potentially 
eliminate habitat in protected areas. The types of changes could result 
in decreased productivity in these areas and increase competition with 
other species. In addition, local communities are known to collect 
greater adjutant eggs, chicks, and adults for consumption, for use as 
pets, and because of perceived threats to fish stocks. The use of 
pesticides occurs in both India and Cambodia for a variety of reasons, 
including agriculture, fishing, and insect control. As human 
interactions with the adjutant continue to increase, the chances of 
poisoning the species also continue to rise. Existing regulatory 
mechanisms are ineffective at reducing or removing threats to the 
species. Lack of enforcement and habitat

[[Page 50065]]

protection is a significant threat to the species. Furthermore, with a 
population estimated at fewer than 1,000 birds, loss of eggs, chicks, 
or adults is a significant threat to the survival of this species. 
Based on the magnitude of the ongoing threats to the small population 
of greater adjutant and its habitat throughout its entire range, as 
described above, we determine that this species is in danger of 
extinction throughout all of its range. Therefore, on the basis of the 
best available scientific and commercial information, we are listing 
the greater adjutant as an endangered species throughout all of its 
range. Because we find that the greater adjutant is endangered 
throughout all of its range, there is no reason to consider its status 
in a significant portion of its range.

IV. Jerdon's Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus)

Species Description

    The Jerdon's courser, also known as the double-banded courser 
(Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), is a small, nocturnal bird, which is 
specialized for running and belongs to the family Glareolidae (Bhushan 
1986, pp. 1, 6; Jeganathan et al. 2004a, p. 225; Jeganathan et al. 
2004b, p. 7). It was first described by T. C. Jerdon in 1848 (Bhushan 
1986, p. 1; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 1). This species averages 27 cm 
(11 in) in length, its plumage consists of a brown breast with two 
narrow white bands (bordered with black) below an orange-chestnut 
gorget (throat patch), a blackish colored crown with a white coronal 
stripe, a broad buff-colored supercilium (eyebrow stripe) over a dark 
cheek-patch, white lores (space between the eye and bill), and a short 
yellow bill with a black tip (Rasmussen and Anderton 2005, p. 183; BLI 
2009b, unpaginated). Males and females are not known to differ, and 
juvenile plumage is unknown (Rasmussen and Anderton 2005, p. 184).
    The Jerdon's courser is a rare species of bird that is endemic to 
the Eastern Ghats of the states of Andhra Pradesh and extreme southern 
Madhya Pradesh in India (BLI 2009b, unpaginated). The size of the 
population is not known. Historically, this species was reported in the 
Khamman, Nellore, and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh and the 
Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 5). 
Until 1900, its presence was periodically recorded, including some 
records in the Pennar and Godavari river valleys and near Anantapur 
(Bhushan 1986, p. 2; Jeganathan et al. 2004a, p. 225; Jeganathan et al. 
2004b, p. 7; Jeganathan et al. 2006, p. 227). Efforts by various 
ornithologists in the early 1930s and mid to late 1970s to record the 
presence of this species failed, leading to the belief that the species 
was extinct (Bhushan 1986, p. 2; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 7). In 
1986, the Jerdon's courser was rediscovered near Reddipalli village, 
Cuddapah District, Andhra Pradesh (Bhushan 1986, pp. 8-9; Jeganathan et 
al. 2004a, p. 225; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 7; Jeganathan et al. 
2005, p. 3; Jeganathan et al. 2006, p. 227; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 
1).
    The area where the species was rediscovered was designated as the 
Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife Sanctuary (SLWS) (Jeganathan et al. 2004b, 
p. 7; Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 3). After its rediscovery, it was only 
observed regularly at a few sites in and around the SLWS (Jeganathan et 
al. 2004b, p. 7, 18; Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 5; Jeganathan et al. 
2006, p. 227; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 1), including reports of its 
presence in Sri Penusula Narasimha Wildlife Sanctuary (SPNWS) in the 
Cuddapah and Nellore districts, Andhra Pradesh (Jeganathan et al. 2005, 
p. 3). It has since been found at three additional localities in and 
around SLWL (Jeganathan et al. 2004a, p. 228; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, 
p. 20; BLI 2009b, unpaginated).
    Due to the nocturnal nature of the species and the wooded nature of 
its habitat, individuals are rarely seen; therefore, very little 
information is available on the distribution, ecology, population size, 
and habitat requirements of the Jerdon's courser (Jeganathan et al. 
2004a, p. 225; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 7; Jeganathan et al. 2005, 
p. 3; Jeganathan et al. 2006, p. 227; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 1). New 
survey techniques have allowed researchers to detect the presence and 
absence of Jerdon's courser using track strips and a tape playback of 
the species' call. These methods can be useful in mapping the 
geographic range of the Jerdon's courser and in estimating the 
population size, and have contributed to a better understanding of 
habitat preferences. Surveys have not been conducted in all areas with 
suitable habitat characteristics; additional surveys are needed to 
confirm the current range and population size of this species. Although 
the size of the population is not known, it is believed to be a small, 
declining population (Jeganathan 2004b, p. 7; BLI 2009b, unpaginated; 
IUCN 2009c, unpaginated).
    The Jerdon's courser inhabits open patches within scrub-forest 
interspersed with patches of bare ground, in gently undulating, rocky 
foothills (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 5; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 1). 
Studies show that this species is most likely to occur where the 
density of large bushes (greater than 2 m (6 ft) tall) ranges from 300 
to 700 per ha (121-283 large bushes per acre) and the density of 
smaller bushes (less than 2 m (6 ft) tall) is less than 1,000 per ha 
(404 per acre) (Jeganathan et al. 2004a, p. 228; Jeganathan et al. 
2004b, p. 22; Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 5; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 
1). The dominant woody vegetation includes species of shrub, 
particularly Zizyphus rugosa, Carissa carandas, and Acacia horrida 
(Jeganathan et al. 2004a, p. 228; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 22).
    The amount of suitable habitat that existed for this species in 
2000 was estimated to be approximately 3,847 km\2\ (1,485 mi\2\) of 
scrub habitat in the Cuddapah and Nellore districts of the State of 
Andhra Pradesh (Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 6). Jeganathan (2008, pers. 
comm.) further stated that the amount of suitable habitat available in 
and around the SLWS is approximately 132 km\2\ (51 mi\2\). A 
comprehensive habitat assessment of all the shrub habitat areas within 
the historic range of this species has not yet been completed; 
therefore, suitable habitat may occur elsewhere for this species.
    Little information is known about feeding habits or feeding areas 
of this species. The only information known comes from the analysis of 
two Jerdon's courser fecal samples, which consisted mainly of termites 
and ants. Jeganathan (2004a, p. 234) suggested that despite being 
nocturnal and affected by the shadowing effects of the canopy, coursers 
may be able to see invertebrate prey on the ground by selecting 
relatively well-illuminated open areas.
    There is no information on the life history of the Jerdon's 
courser; no nests or young birds have ever been found, although the 
footprints of a young bird along with an adult Jerdon's courser 
suggests successful breeding is taking place (Jeganathan et al. 2004b, 
pp. 17, 29). The calling period is brief, starting approximately 45 to 
50 minutes after sunset and continuing for a few minutes to 
approximately 20 minutes.

Conservation Status

    Due to the single, small, and declining population of the Jerdon's 
courser, it is classified as ``critically endangered'' by the IUCN 
(Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 7; Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 1; Jeganathan 
et al. 2008, p. 73; IUCN 2009c, unpaginated), a category assigned to 
species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. It is 
also listed under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 
1972. The species has

[[Page 50066]]

not been formally considered for listing in the Appendices of CITES 
(http://www.cites.org).
    In 2010, a recovery plan was published for the Jerdon's courser. 
The goals of this plan are to ``secure the long-term future of the 
Jerdon's courser and the scrub forest it is found in'' and improve the 
conservation status of the Jerdon's courser within the next 10 years 
(2010-11 to 2020-21) (Anon 2010, p. 13). The Recovery Plan lays out 
objectives with specific actions to reach those objectives and includes 
a time scale and parties responsible for each action. Objectives 
include protection of existing habitat, locating suitable habitat and 
determining if the species occurs in those areas, research and 
monitoring to support conservation efforts and track populations and 
habitat changes, and raising awareness of the conservation issues (Anon 
2010, p. 16).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Jerdon's Courser

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    The primary threat to the persistence of the Jerdon's courser is 
habitat destruction and alteration due to conversion of suitable 
habitat to agriculture lands, grazing, and construction within and 
around the SLWS and SPNWS, and increasing settlements (Jeganathan 2005 
et al. 2005, p. 6; Norris 2008, pers. comm.; Jeganathan 2009, pers. 
comm.). Agriculture is the main occupation of the people living in the 
area. The State of Andhra Pradesh has experienced growth of intensive 
agricultural practices in recent years (Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 2), 
with paddy (Oryza sativa), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), cotton 
(Gossypium sp.), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), finger millet (Eleusince 
coracana), turmeric (Curcuma longa), and onion (Allium cepa) being the 
major crops of the area (Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 77). From 1991 to 
2000, scrub habitat in the Cuddapah District and parts of the Nellore 
District in Andhra Pradesh decreased by 11-15 percent, while the area 
occupied by agricultural land more than doubled (109 percent increase) 
during the same time period. Remaining scrub patches were also found to 
be smaller (38.4 percent decrease) and further from human settlements 
(Senapathi et al. 2007, pp. 1, 4; Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 76).
    The main causes for the loss of scrub habitat were human 
settlements and subsequent conversions of scrub habitat to agriculture 
and cleared areas (Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 6). From 2001 to 2004, an 
estimated 480 ha (1,186 ac) of scrub habitat were cleared within and 
around the SLWS, 275 ha (680 ac) of which were cleared to provide land 
for agriculture to the people who were displaced by floods and for 
farming of lemons and forestry plantations. These cleared areas fall 
within 1 km (0.6 mi) of previously known and newly discovered Jerdon's 
courser areas (Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 76). From 2000 to 2005, 
Jeganathan et al. (2008, p. 77) noted that approximately 215 ha (531 
ac) of scrub habitat outside of the SLWS were cleared and most likely 
will become lemon farms. The irrigation required to sustain 
agricultural activities will likely further fragment any remaining 
suitable habitat (Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 7).
    The Jerdon's courser inhabits open patches within scrub-forest and 
prefers areas with moderate densities of trees and bushes (Jeganathan 
et al. 2004a, p. 234). Researchers believe this open habitat is 
maintained by grazing animals and some woodcutting (Norris 2008, pers. 
comm.). Known Jerdon's courser sites are already being used for grazing 
livestock and woodcutting, but at moderate levels that maintain the 
appropriate vegetation structure (Jeganathan 2005, p. 15). Mechanical 
clearing of bushes to create pasture, orchards, and tilled land; high 
levels of woodcutting; and high level of use by domestic livestock are 
likely to cause deterioration in scrub habitat by creating a scrub 
forest that is too open for the Jerdon's courser. However, low levels 
of grazing by livestock or absence of woodcutting may also lead to 
habitat that is more closed and, therefore, unsuitable (Jeganathan et 
al. 2004a, p. 234; Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 23; Norris 2008, pers. 
comm.).
    Land in SLWS and adjacent areas is used by the people from villages 
in Sagileru valley for grazing herds of domestic buffalo (Bubalus 
bubalis), sheep (Ovis aries), and goats (Capra hircus), and for 
woodcutting (Jeganathan et al. 2004b, p. 9). Jeganathan (2008, pers. 
comm.) states that most of the potentially suitable habitat for 
Jerdon's courser is located on the fringe of the forest and can be 
easily accessed by locals for grazing and woodcutting. Jeganathan et 
al. (2008, p. 77) notes three types of grazing within and around the 
SLWS and SPNWS. The first includes shepherds who bring goats, sheep, 
and buffalo into the scrub habitat in and around the sanctuaries every 
morning, grazing 2-3 km (1-2 mi) into the forest before returning to 
the villages in the evening. The second includes nomads with 200-300 
cattle. Although they are invited by farmers to help fertilize the 
lemon farms, they stay 3 to 4 months and graze in the forested areas in 
and around the sanctuaries. The third includes sheep that graze inside 
the sanctuaries throughout the year; however, this type of grazing did 
not occur in scrub habitat. Furthermore, a common practice is to cut 
and bend the branches of scrub and tree species to facilitate better 
access for grazing (Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 78). In addition, the 
people of the local villages also use the sanctuaries for timber and 
nontimber forest products; including fuel wood, illegal wood 
collecting, grass, and bamboo. From 2001 to 2003, Jeganathan et al. 
(2008, pp. 77-78) regularly observed wood loads being removed by either 
head loads, bullock cart, or tractor.
    Development activities within the SLWS, including the construction 
of check dams and percolation ponds and digging of trenches, have been 
observed in known and newly recorded areas of the Jerdon's courser 
(Jeganathan et al. 2004a, pp. 26, 28; Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 76). 
Approximately 0.5 to 1 ha (1-2 ac) of scrub forest was cleared for each 
of five percolation ponds dug near the main Jerdon's courser area and 
exotic plant species planted on the embankment. In addition, scrub 
habitat was thinned (removal of all scrub species except selected tree 
saplings), and pits for collecting rainwater were dug (Jeganathan et 
al. 2008, p. 76). Furthermore, various sizes of stones were collected 
from the scrub jungle within and around the SLWS for road construction 
every year. Collection included digging of stones with crowbars, 
collection of stones in heavy vehicles, and the excavation of 15 large 
pits (Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 76).
    Construction of dams and reservoirs and river floods in the area 
has resulted in the relocation of villages near the SLWS and SPNWS. 
Fifty-seven villages were relocated closer to SLWS after the 
construction of the Somasila dam. Fifteen were displaced due to the 
construction of the Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmendraswamy (SPVB) 
Reservoir. Currently, there are approximately 146 villages between the 
SLWS and SPNWS (Jeganathan et al. 2008, pp. 76-77). There are more 
villages in the area of Somasila and SPVB Reservoir that could be 
relocated near the sanctuaries in the future, and there are plans to 
increase the height of the Somasila dam, which will cause the 
displacement of more villages near the southeastern part of SLWS 
(Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 77). With the relocation and expansion of 
human settlements, there is concern over additional land conversion for

[[Page 50067]]

agriculture, increased pressure for grazing and woodcutting, and 
further development.
    At the time of the Jerdon's courser rediscovery in 1986, the only 
known site where the species was found was under threat from a project 
to construct the Telugu-Ganga canal through its habitat. The Andhra 
Pradesh Forestry Department (APFD) and the State Government of Andhra 
Pradesh responded by designating the site as the SLWS to protect the 
species. The proposed route of the canal was adjusted to avoid the 
sanctuary (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 6; Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 
78). However, in 2005, construction of the Telugu-Ganga canal began, 
illegally, within the SLWS. Construction was stopped immediately once 
the APFD was notified (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 6; Kohli 2006, 
unpaginated). Illegal excavation was reported even after construction 
was stopped and the contracting company fined (Kohli 2006, 
unpaginated).
    Jeganathan et al. (2005, p. 12) found that 80 to 100 m (263 to 328 
ft) were cleared for canals that were 16 to 20 m (53 to 66 ft) wide. 
They also found that approximately 22 ha (54 ac) of potentially 
suitable habitat were cleared and one of the three newly recorded sites 
for the Jerdon's courser was destroyed by the illegal construction 
within the SLWS (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 12; Jeganathan et al. 2008, 
p. 73). The potential impacts of the proposed realignment were also 
assessed and it was determined that the construction of the canal would 
still impact 650 ha (1,606 ac) of suitable habitat around the SLWS and 
would pass within 500 m (1640 ft) of recent records of the Jerdon's 
courser and pass very close to the only place where the species has 
been regularly sighted since 1986 (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 12; 
Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 80). Plans for the Telugu-Ganga canal 
included another canal project along the western boundary of the SPNWS. 
Unauthorized work near the Sanctuary boundary was stopped by the 
Cuddapah Forest Division in October 2005. In some locations along the 
canal route, forest had been cleared and roads developed inside of the 
Sanctuary boundary (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 9). Approximately 163 ha 
(403 ac) were cleared for the construction of the canal in and around 
the SPNWS (Jeganathan et al. 2005; Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 80). It 
is unknown how much of this area is occupied by the Jerdon's courser.
    Following the illegal construction of the canal within the SLWS and 
SPNWS, the issue was raised to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), a 
monitoring body on forest matters set up by the Supreme Court (Kholi 
2006, unpaginated). The CEC ruled in favor of a realignment route 
completely avoiding courser habitat. Also, the government of Andhra 
Pradesh has transferred approximately 1,000 ha (2,4711 ac) of land 
between the canal and the SLWS to the APFD (BLI 2009b, unpaginated; 
Jeganathan 2009, pers. comm.).
    During the construction of the Telugu-Ganga canal, Jeganathan et 
al. (2005, p. 13) identified additional threats in association with the 
construction. Roads were built along the canal route and from the main 
roads to the canal, which subsequently provided easy access to the 
forest for unauthorized woodcutting. Furthermore, the SLWS is known to 
have red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus), a highly valued species of 
trees sought after by illegal woodcutters. APDF records from 1984 to 
2003 show that more than 116,000 kilograms (255,736 pounds) of matured 
red sanders were seized from smugglers (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 13). 
Pressure from smugglers on mature red sanders, coupled with the 
increased access points into the SLWS due to canal construction 
activities, has caused extensive unauthorized woodcutting within the 
SLWS (Jeganathan et al. 2005, p. 13).
    In summary, the scrub habitat known to be occupied by the species 
and potentially suitable habitat on adjacent lands in and around the 
SLWS and SPNWS in the Cuddapah District of India have been destroyed 
and diminished due to conversion of land for agricultural purposes, 
grazing livestock, construction, and woodcutting. These actions are a 
result of human expansion and the subsequent increase in human activity 
in and around the SLWS and SPNWS. Additional relocation of villages 
around SLWS and SPNWS is anticipated. Because the two most common 
livelihoods are agriculture and cattle rearing and because the 
establishment of additional villages will require more land to 
accommodate agriculture and livestock needs, the scrub habitat that is 
vital to the Jerdon's courser remains at risk of further curtailment. 
The population of the Jerdon's courser is extremely small and believed 
to be declining, so any further loss or degradation of remaining 
suitable habitat represents a significant threat to the species. 
Therefore, we find that present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range are threats to the 
continued existence of the Jerdon's courser throughout its range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Jeganathan et al. (2008, p. 78) noted a few encounters with illegal 
bird trapping within the peripheral areas of the eastern part of the 
SLWS; on one occasion a trapper was seen near the main Jerdon's courser 
area. Although trappers mainly target other species, such as Grey 
partridge (Francolinus pondicerianus) and Quail species, the traps 
consist of nooses and nets in which the Jerdon's courser could 
potentially get caught (Jeganathan et al. 2008, p. 78). However, there 
is no quantitative information on which to analyze the extent to which 
this threat may be acting on this species. In addition, we are not 
aware of any information currently available that indicates the use of 
this species for any scientific or educational purpose. As a result, we 
are not considering overutilization to be a contributing threat to the 
continued existence of the Jerdon's courser throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    We are not aware of any information currently available that 
indicates disease or predation pose a threat for this species. As a 
result, we are not considering disease or predation to be contributing 
threats to the continued existence of the Jerdon's courser throughout 
its range.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Jerdon's courser is listed under Schedule I of the Indian 
Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Schedule I provides absolute 
protection with the greatest penalties for offenses. This law prohibits 
hunting, possession, sale, and transport of listed species and allows 
the State Government to designate an area as a sanctuary or national 
park for the purpose of protecting, propagating, or developing wildlife 
or its environment. The Jerdon's courser is also listed as a priority 
species under the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) of India. 
This National Plan includes guidance to expand and strengthen the 
existing network of protected areas, develop management plans for 
protected areas in the country, restore and manage degraded habitats 
outside of protected areas, and control activities such as poaching and 
illegal trade, among others. We are unaware of any management plans for 
the protected areas in Andhra Pradesh where the Jerdon's courser 
occurs. This species is also proposed as a threatened species

[[Page 50068]]

under section 38 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (Anon 2010, p. 
6).
    The SLWS and SPNWS were established for the purpose of protecting 
the habitat of the Jerdon's courser. The sanctuaries allow for 
regulated levels of human use and disturbance while preventing complete 
loss of scrub habitat (Senapathi et al. 2007, p. 8). The SLWS and SPNWS 
are protected by the Forest Conservation Act of 1980. Section 2 of this 
law restricts the use of forest land for nonforest purposes, such as 
the fragmentation or clearing of any forest. In addition, the SLWS and 
SNPWS are designated as Important Bird Areas (IBA) in India (Jeganathan 
et al. 2005, p. 5). IBAs are sites of international importance for the 
conservation of birds, as well as other animals and plants, and are 
meant to be used to focus conservation efforts and reinforce the 
existing protected areas network. However, designation as an IBA 
provides no legal protection of these areas (BNHS 2009, unpaginated).
    In 2010, a recovery plan was published for the Jerdon's courser. 
The plan uses a multi-pronged approach to secure the long-term survival 
of this species. Elements of the plan include research, monitoring, 
advocacy, conservation education, habitat management, training, and 
funding. The actions outlined in the plan involve several national and 
international groups and the APFD, which has the primary responsibility 
for the management of Jerdon's courser habitat (Anon 2010, pp. 3, 5). 
Implementation of the recovery plan is dependent on funding 
(approximately 1.8 million U.S. dollars) and the cooperation of several 
agencies (Anon 2010, pp. 16-21). Although this plan was published by 
the APFD and submitted to The Ministry of Environment and Forests, 
Government of India, we could not determine that implementation of this 
plan is mandatory or binding; rather the plan is meant to serve as a 
reference for conservation managers, policy-makers, researchers, 
decision-makers, and serve as a basis for future conservation actions. 
Furthermore, as this recovery plan was just published in November 2010, 
it is too early to determine if this plan will be effective in 
providing protection to the species.
    In summary, although protections for the species exist, the primary 
threat to this species is ongoing loss of habitat. Senapathi et al. 
(2007, pp. 7-8) found an extensive and rapid decline in scrub habitat, 
with most removal of scrub occurring up to sanctuary boundaries and 
little loss occurring within the wildlife sanctuaries. Due to the 
threat of an increasing number of settlements near the sanctuaries, and 
the subsequent further loss of scrub habitat to agriculture and 
livestock, protection of scrub habitat used by the Jerdon's courser 
will be important for the species' continued existence. Jeganathan et 
al. (2004, p. 28) classified many areas in the Cuddapah District as 
suitable habitat for the Jerdon's courser; however, with the exception 
of two sanctuaries, the rest of the suitable habitats are not 
protected. Therefore, current regulatory mechanisms do not provide 
enough protection of suitable habitat for this species outside of 
existing protected areas. We are also unaware of any grazing standards 
within SLWS and SPNWS to ensure the maintenance of open scrub habitat 
and prevent overgrazing by livestock. When combined with Factor A (the 
present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the 
habitat or range), we find that the existing regulatory mechanisms are 
inadequate to ameliorate the current threats to the Jerdon's courser 
throughout its range.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    There are particular species characteristics that render a species 
vulnerable to extinction (Primack 2002, p. 193). For example, species 
with a narrow geographic range, small population size, declining 
population, and specialized habitat requirements are more susceptible 
to extinction than others without these characteristics (Primack 2002, 
pp. 193-200). Although exact population estimates and distribution of 
the Jerdon's courser are not available, the species has been reported 
as a small, declining population (Jeganathan 2004b, p. 7; BLI 2009b, 
unpaginated; IUCN 2009c, unpaginated) and only reported from a small 
patch of scrub habitat in and around the SLWS (Jeganathan et al. 2008, 
p. 73). Furthermore, certain species characteristics, such as those 
found in this species, predispose it to particular sources of 
extinction (Owens and Bennett 2000, p. 12147). Owens and Bennett (2000, 
p. 12147) found that extinction risks for birds with specialized 
habitat and small body size increased with habitat loss. The Jerdon's 
courser is a small bird dependent on scrub habitat of moderate density 
for survival. Habitat loss, as described under Factor A, is the primary 
threat to this species. Further loss of Jerdon's courser habitat may 
fragment remaining suitable habitat adjacent to the SLWS and increase 
the extinction risk for the species. In addition, small, isolated 
populations may experience decreased demographic viability and 
increased susceptibility to extinction from stochastic environmental 
factors (e.g., weather events, disease) and an increased threat of 
extinction from genetic isolation and subsequent inbreeding depression 
and genetic drift.
    In conclusion, the single known population of Jerdon's courser is 
likely to be vulnerable to threats associated with low population 
sizes. Because the known population is small in size, and restricted in 
range, and depends on a special habitat for survival, any factor (i.e., 
habitat change, a loss of demographic viability, etc.) that results in 
a decline in habitat or individuals is problematic for the long-term 
survival of this species. Therefore, we find that other natural or 
manmade factors pose a threat to the Jerdon's courser throughout its 
range.

Status Determination for the Jerdon's Courser

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the Jerdon's courser. The species is currently 
at risk throughout all of its range due to ongoing threats of habitat 
destruction and modification (Factor A), and demographic, genetic, and 
environmental stochastic events and other complications associated with 
the species' low population and restricted range (Factor E). 
Furthermore, we have determined that the existing regulatory mechanisms 
(Factor D) are not adequate to ameliorate the current threats to the 
species.
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    Known occupied habitat and potentially suitable habitat have 
already been destroyed and diminished due to conversion of land for 
agriculture, grazing livestock, construction, and wood cutting. 
Additional relocation of villages around the SLWS and SPNWS is 
anticipated. The two most common livelihoods for people in this region 
are agriculture and cattle rearing; relocation of villages will require 
the conversion of additional land to accommodate these needs. 
Currently, there are protections in place for this species, but these 
do not provide enough protection to suitable habitat outside of 
protected areas. Within protected areas, grazing still occurs and there 
are no grazing

[[Page 50069]]

standards in place to ensure maintenance of open scrub habitat. 
Characteristics of the Jerdon's courser, such as small body size, small 
population, declining population, narrow geographic range, and 
specialized habitat requirements, naturally put this species more at 
risk of extinction.
    Any factor (i.e., habitat change, a loss of demographic viability, 
etc.) that results in a decline in habitat or individuals is 
problematic for the long-term survival of this species. Decreased 
demographic viability, environmental factors, and genetic isolation may 
lead to inbreeding depression and reduced fitness. These genetic 
threats will exacerbate other threats to the species and likely 
increase the risk of extinction. Based on the magnitude of the ongoing 
threats to the Jerdon's courser habitat throughout its entire range, as 
described above (Factor A and D), combined with the small population, 
restricted range, and specialized habitat requirements (Factor E), we 
determine that this species is in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its range. Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific 
and commercial information, we are listing the Jerdon's courser as an 
endangered species throughout all of its range. Because we find that 
the Jerdon's courser is endangered throughout all of its range, there 
is no reason to consider its status in a significant portion of its 
range.

V. Marquesan Imperial Pigeon (Ducula galeata)

Species Description

    The Marquesan Imperial Pigeon (Ducula galeata), known locally as 
Upe, is a very large arboreal pigeon belonging to the family 
Columbidae. It was first described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1855 
(Villard et al. 2003, p. 198; BLI 2009c, unpaginated). The species 
measures 55 cm (22 in) in length, is dark slate-grey with bronze-green 
reflections on the upperparts, rufous-chestnut undertail-coverts, white 
eyes, and a white and grey-black cere protruding almost to the tip of 
the bill (Blanvillain et al. 2007, unpaginated; BLI 2009c, 
unpaginated).
    The pigeon is endemic to the French Polynesian Marquesas 
Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The Marquesas Archipelago is a 
territory of France located approximately 1,600 km (994 mi) northeast 
of Tahiti. Based on subfossil records, the pigeon was historically 
present on four islands in the Marquesas Archipelago, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka, 
Tahuata, and Nuku Hiva, as well as the Cook, the Pitcairn, and Society 
Island chains (Steadman 1997, p. 740; Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 6; 
Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, p. 381; Blanvillain et al. 2007, 
unpaginated). At the time of its discovery, the pigeon was already 
restricted to Nuku Hiva, a 337 km\2\ (130 sq mi\2\) island. Researchers 
believe that hunting, degradation of local forest, invasive weeds and 
trees, and predation were the probable causes of its decline (Thorsen 
et al. 2002, pp. 8-9; Blanvillian et al. 2007, unpaginated). On Nuku 
Hiva, the pigeon is restricted to 7 sites which are difficult to access 
by hunters and livestock (Villard et al. 2003, p. 191; BLI 2009c, 
unpaginated). In an effort to protect the remaining population from 
extinction due to catastrophic events, the pigeon was reintroduced to 
Ua Huka, an island 50 km (31 mi) east of Nuku Hiva in 2000 (Thorsen et 
al. 2002, p. 14; Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, p. 385; BLI 2009c, 
unpaginated). Ua Huka was chosen as a reintroduction site primarily 
because the pigeon was historically found on the island, and due to 
availability of suitable habitat located in a protected area, a lack of 
black rats (Rattus rattus), and a smaller human population compared to 
other Marquesan islands (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 13).
    Population estimates on Nuku Hiva have ranged from 75 to 300 birds 
since 1975; however, the most recent survey, conducted in 2000, 
estimated the population to be approximately 80-150 birds (Villard et 
al. 2003, p. 194). In 2000, five birds were translocated to Ua Huka and 
an additional five translocated in 2003. In 2006, approximately 32 
birds were present. In 2008, another survey was conducted. Two groups 
of nine and six birds were observed within the initial translocation 
area (Gouni and Gustemme 2009, p. 4). Gouni and Gustemme (2009, p. 4) 
suggest that the population has expanded into inaccessible parts of the 
island where surveys are not possible and further speculate that, given 
the lack of limiting factors on the island, the population may have 
already reached 50 individuals.
    The species is almost exclusively arboreal and prefers the 
intermediate and upper canopy forest layers consisting of Guettarda 
speciosa, Cerbera manghas, Ficus spp., Terminalia cattapa, and Sapindus 
saponaria; however, individuals have also been observed perched on 
shrubs (Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, p. 382; Villard et al. 2003, p. 
191). These pigeons heavily rely on this canopy forest for roosting and 
feeding. Based on observations of pigeons in 2000, this species appears 
to return to the same feeding and night roosting areas.
    Species of Ducula are primarily frugivorous (fruit eaters). The 
diet of Marquesan imperial pigeons consists mainly of fruits, which are 
usually swallowed whole, from Ficus spp. and Psidium guajava (guava; an 
introduced species); however, it has been reported that caterpillars 
from S. saponaria and the foliage and flowers of other tree and shrub 
species also make up a portion of the pigeon's diet. The species' 
consumption of an introduced shrub species, the guava, is likely due to 
the degradation of native habitat (Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, p. 
384) and the subsequent loss of native fruits, foliage, and flowers. 
Gleaning, the catching of invertebrate prey items by plucking them from 
foliage, the ground, or from rock crevices, and browsing are the two 
main feeding methods (Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, pp. 382-383).
    Courtship behavior includes the male and female sitting next to one 
another and allopreening, preening the potential mate's breast and neck 
areas and mirroring each other's actions (Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, 
p. 383). The breeding season is long, occurring from mid-May to 
December (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 6). Nests are constructed of 
intermingled branches, approximately 60 cm (24 in) in diameter, 10 to 
18 m (33 to 59 ft) above ground at the top of the canopy (Blanvillain 
and Thorsen 2003, p. 384); clutch size is only one egg (Villard et al. 
2003, pp. 192, 195). Abundance of fruit is critical in determining the 
breeding success of frugivorous birds (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). 
However, studies suggest that the pigeon is successfully breeding in 
different areas where it exists (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 17; Villard et 
al. 2003, p. 195).
Conservation Status
    The Marquesan imperial pigeon was originally classified as 
``critically endangered'' by the IUCN. In 2008, however, this species 
was downlisted to ``endangered'' status due to the establishment of a 
second population through the translocation of birds to Ua Huka (IUCN 
2009b, unpaginated). The Marquesan imperial pigeon is also protected 
under Law Number 95-257 in French Polynesia. The species has not been 
formally considered for listing in the Appendices of CITES (http://www.cites.org).

[[Page 50070]]

Summary of Factors Affecting the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    Destruction of habitat associated with human colonization is one of 
the main threats to the remaining populations of the Marquesan imperial 
pigeon. Since Polynesian occupation and discovery of the area by 
Europeans, substantial changes to the Nuku Hiva landscape have occurred 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 8; Villard et al. 2003, p. 190) and are still 
occurring. These changes include clearing of land for agriculture and 
development, introduction of domestic livestock, introduction of exotic 
plants, and introduction of rats (Rattus spp.) and cats (Felis catus) 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, pp. 8-9).
    Most of Nuku Hiva was originally covered by forest, with the 
exception of the drier northwestern plain where shrub savanna is 
predominant. Since colonization of Nuku Hiva, the native landscape has 
been cleared for agriculture and settlement. Fires have been used to 
clear land for agriculture and plantations (Manu 2009, unpaginated). In 
more recent times (between 1974 and 1989), all natural vegetation on a 
large area of the main plateau (de Toovii) on the island was cut down 
or burned to be converted into grassland for pasture, and 1,100 ha 
(2,718 ac) were planted with Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea), an exotic 
tree species. By 2000, modern facilities, such as roads, an airport, 
and other buildings had been built (Villard et al. 2003, pp. 190, 195).
    Suitable habitat for this species has also been modified and 
degraded by introduced domestic livestock and exotic plant species. 
Domestic livestock have become feral, and while cattle and horses are 
mostly controlled, feral goats (Capra hircus) and pigs (Sus scrofa) 
continue to be a major concern (Villard et al. 2003, p. 193). Goats are 
particularly destructive; they have caused devastation to natural 
habitats on several other islands (Sykes 1969, pp. 13-16; Parkes 1984, 
pp. 95-101; Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 9).
    The Nuku Hiva goat population has been increasing since the 1970s, 
and both goats and pigs are found everywhere on the island (Villard et 
al. 2003, p. 195). Goats have the potential to damage and alter the 
vegetative composition of an area by overgrazing indigenous and endemic 
species to the point at which seedlings are consumed before they are 
able to mature to a height that is out of the reach of goats and, 
therefore, survive (Sykes 1969, p. 14; Parkes 1984, pp. 95, 96, 101; 
Villard et al. 2002, p. 189). Subsequently, exotic plant species are 
able to flourish and outcompete native species, which results in little 
or no regeneration of native trees (Sykes 1969, p. 15; Thorsen et al. 
2002, p. 9). Large patches of natural forest have been destroyed by 
goats and pigs in areas where Marquesan imperial pigeons are found and 
there is poor natural forest regeneration (Villard et al. 2003, p. 
193). Blanvillain and Thorsen (2003, pp. 382-383) found most of the 
ground covered by several introduced plant species, including guava, 
African basil (Ocimum gratissimum), and soft elephants foot 
(Elephantopus mollis). Overgrazing, combined with the introduction of 
exotic species, prohibits the tall trees that comprise the canopy layer 
of the forest from regenerating and from providing feeding and roosting 
sites needed by pigeons.
    In addition, introduced rats on the island of Nuka Hiva inhibit 
regeneration of native trees because they consume the flowers, fruits, 
seeds, seedlings, leaves, buds, roots, and rhizomes (Thorsen et al. 
2002, p. 9; Meyer and Butaud 2009, p. 1570), thus further contributing 
to the alteration of the vegetation composition. Thorsen et al. (2002, 
p. 9) noted that seed caches containing many seeds that are part of the 
Marquesan imperial pigeon's food supply were common.
    Marquesan imperial pigeons are frugivorous birds and act as seed 
dispersal agents for those trees from which they feed and roost. 
Habitat loss, predation, or any other factor resulting in the decline 
of pigeons indirectly contributes to a decrease in seed dispersal, 
possibly contributing to low recruitment of the vital native tree 
species. Therefore, hunting may also contribute to the destruction and 
modification of habitat (See also Factor B).
    The habitat in the Vaiviki Valley on the island of Ua Huka, where 
the pigeon was reintroduced, was classified as a protected area in 1997 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 13). There are no indications that ongoing 
habitat degradation from livestock grazing is occurring in this area.
    In summary, the Marquesan imperial pigeon prefers to inhabit the 
canopy forest layer of mature forests and relies on the fruits of these 
trees as a food source. This habitat on Nuku Hiva has been destroyed, 
and continues to be destroyed by conversion of land for agriculture and 
development, overgrazing, and competition with exotic plant species. 
The species is currently restricted to seven small sites in the most 
remote areas of Nuku Hiva (Villard et al. 2003, p. 191). An intact 
canopy of native species is rare; in addition, the native understory 
and shrub layers are absent and composed mostly of browse-resistant 
species (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 9). Poor natural forest regeneration 
is evident in areas where pigeons are found (Villard et al. 2003, p. 
193). Overgrazing by goats and competition with exotic species remain a 
threat to the pigeon's habitat on Nuku Hiva; any additional loss of 
suitable habitat is likely to have a large impact on the distribution 
of this species.
    The Marquesan imperial pigeon does not appear to experience habitat 
destruction on Ua Huka, as it is classified as a protected area and 
there is no indication of ongoing habitat degradation from livestock 
grazing in this area. However, the largest population of pigeons is 
located on Nuka Hiva, and impacts to the suitable habitat on this 
island are ongoing. Therefore, we find that present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range is a 
threat to the continued existence of the Marquesan imperial pigeon.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Two researchers found that hunting is the primary reason for the 
current restricted range of the species to remote areas of Nuku Hiva 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 8; Villard et al. 2003, p. 193). By 1922, most 
of the modification of habitat by man had already occurred, yet 
Marquesan imperial pigeons were still abundant (Villard et al. 2003, p. 
195). In a 1922 expedition, 82 birds were killed; Villard et al. (2003, 
p. 194) theorized that this represented a significant portion of the 
estimated several hundred birds present at that time. After these 
killings, the pigeon was reported as ``not so abundant.'' In 1944, many 
birds were reported on the northern coast of Nuku Hiva and hunters were 
known to bring back full bags of birds. In 1951, the population of 
pigeons appeared to be decreasing and, with the introduction of 
shotguns in the 1950s, the effect was amplified. During the 
construction of the airport from 1978 to 1979, workers were known to 
hunt for pigeons (Villard et al. 2003, pp. 193, 195). On Ua Huka, a 
local agreement now exists not to hunt pigeons (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 
13).
    Bird hunting in the French Polynesia was banned in 1967; however, 
the law is rarely enforced and hunting still occurs (Thorsen et al. 
2002, p. 10) on Nuku Hiva. Most Marquesan imperial pigeons that are 
killed are opportunistic

[[Page 50071]]

kills by those hunting goats and pigs, but some intentionally target 
pigeons for sale to local inhabitants (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). In 
an effort to reduce illegal hunting and engage the public in 
conservation of local endemic species, the Soci[eacute]t[eacute] 
d'Ornithologie de Polyn[eacute]sie (Manu), a conservation organization 
in French Polynesia, developed a public outreach and educational 
program for local schools about the importance of this species. 
Although this appears to have reduced illegal hunting, poaching remains 
a threat and has the potential to rapidly reduce to the remaining small 
population (BLI 2009c, unpaginated). To protect the remaining 
populations from hunting, an agreement by the inhabitants of Nuku Hiva 
to stop hunting pigeons or the appointment of a ranger to enforce 
current laws is needed (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 11).
    An adult Marquesan imperial pigeon lays only one egg per year, 
suggesting this species is long lived (Villard et al. 2003, pp. 192, 
195). Populations of species that are long-lived with low fecundity 
rates tend to be more affected by loss of breeding adults than those 
species with shorter lifespans and high fecundity. Therefore, an 
increase in adult mortality due to illegal hunting would likely have a 
substantial impact on the survival of this species. Furthermore, 
because pigeons are frugivorous and act as seed dispersal agents for 
those trees from which they feed and roost, further declines in pigeons 
may indirectly contribute to low recruitment of the vital native tree 
species.
    In summary, hunting was likely a major contributing factor to the 
current restricted range and small population of Marquesan imperial 
pigeon. On the island of Ua Huka, because the species is in a protected 
area, there is a smaller human population compared to other Marquesan 
islands, and since there is no information indicating hunting is a 
threat to this species on the island of Ua Huka, we find that 
overutilization is not a threat to the continued existence of the 
pigeon. On the island of Nuku Hiva, although hunting of pigeons is 
illegal, the law is not enforced and poaching remains a threat. Because 
this species has a clutch size of one egg, poaching would have a 
substantial impact on the species' continued existence. Therefore, we 
find that overutilization is a threat to the continued existence of 
Marquesan imperial pigeon on the island of Nuku Hiva.

C. Disease or Predation

    Avian diseases are a concern for species with restricted ranges and 
small populations, especially if the species is restricted to an 
island. Extensive human activity in previously undisturbed or isolated 
areas can lead to the introduction and spread of exotic diseases, some 
of which (e.g., West Nile virus) can negatively impact endemic bird 
populations (Naugle et al. 2004, p. 704). The introduction and 
transmittal of an avian disease could result in the extinction of the 
Marquesan imperial pigeon (Blanvillian et al. 2007, unpaginated). 
Beadell et al. (2006, p. 2940) found the presence of Hawaii's avian 
malaria in reed-warblers on Nuku Hiva; however, there is no data on the 
effects of this malaria on the population of pigeons on the island. 
Although large and stable populations of wildlife species have adapted 
to natural levels of disease and predation within their historic 
ranges, any additive mortality to the Marquesan imperial pigeon 
population or a decrease in its fitness due to an increase in the 
incidence of disease or predation could adversely impact the species' 
overall viability (see Factor E). However, while these potential 
influences remain a concern for future management of the species, we 
are not aware of any information currently available that specifically 
indicates the occurrence of disease in the Marquesan imperial pigeon. 
No other diseases are known to affect the pigeons. In addition, the 
reintroduction of the pigeons to the island of Ua Huka reduces the 
likelihood of diseases causing extinction of the species.
    Black rats were introduced to Nuku Hiva in 1915 and are now found 
everywhere pigeons are located on Nuku Hiva (Villard et al. 2003, pp. 
193, 195). Rats may prey upon the eggs and nestlings of Marquesan 
Imperial pigeons, even if the nests are located in the tops of trees 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). However, due to the large size of this 
species, adult pigeons may be able to chase away rats from their nests 
(Villard et al. 2003, p. 195). Furthermore, Thorsen et al. (2002, p. 
10) observed juveniles and Villard et al. (2003, p. 195) noted a 
significant proportion of young pigeons, suggesting that black rats are 
not affecting breeding success. Due to the potential threat of black 
rats, pigeons were introduced to Ua Huka where black rats were not 
present. As an additional measure, poison bait stations were 
established around the wharf area of Ua Huka to prevent introduction of 
black rats (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 17).
    Cats have also been introduced to both the islands of Nuku Hiva and 
Ua Huka. While predation of adult and juvenile birds by cats is 
possible when pigeons are forced to feed on low shrubs, such as guava, 
due to destruction and absence of native species (See Factor A) 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10), we are not aware of any information 
currently available that specifically indicates that predation by cats 
is a threat to the survival of this species.
    In summary, while avian diseases such as avian malaria in reed-
warblers was found to be present on Nuku Hiva, no avian diseases are 
known to affect Marquesan imperial pigeons. Although predation has been 
indicated as a contributing factor to the decline of the species 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, pp. 9, 10; Blanvillain et al. 2007, unpaginated), 
we did not find information to suggest that predation is currently a 
threat to the survival of this species. Further, while black rats are 
found everywhere pigeons are found on Nuku Hiva, the observation of a 
significant proportion of juveniles suggests that predation of pigeon 
eggs and nestlings by black rats on Nuku Hiva is not a significant 
threat to pigeons. Cats are present on both islands, and there is 
potential for predation when pigeons are forced to feed on low shrubs, 
such as guava; however, there is no information to substantiate cat 
predation as a threat to the species' survival. Therefore, we find that 
disease and predation are not contributing threats to the continued 
existence of the pigeon throughout its range.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Marquesan imperial pigeon is a protected species in French 
Polynesia; it is classified as a Category A species under Law Number 
95-257. Article 16 of this law prohibits the collection and exportation 
of species listed under Category A. Under Article L411-1 of the French 
Environmental Code, the destruction or poaching of eggs or nests, 
mutilation, destruction, capture or poaching, intentional disturbance, 
the practice of taxidermy, transport, peddling, use, possession, offer 
for sale, or the sale or the purchase of nondomestic species in need of 
conservation is prohibited. The French Environmental Code also 
prohibits the destruction, alteration, or degradation of habitat for 
these species.
    Hunting of this species is believed to be one of the main reasons 
for the species' decline (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10; Villard et al. 
2003, p. 195). Hunting and destruction of all species of birds in 
French Polynesia was prohibited by a decree enacted in 1967 (Villard et 
al. 2003, p. 193). Furthermore, although restrictions on possession of 
firearms in Marquesas are in place, firearms are made available through 
visiting boats

[[Page 50072]]

(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). On Ua Huka, there is an agreement in 
force not to hunt pigeons (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 13). Although this 
species is fully protected, and hunting has been banned, illegal 
hunting of the Marquesan Imperial pigeon still occurs (see Factor B) 
and remains a threat on Nuku Hiva.
    The Marquesas Archipelago is designated as an Endemic Bird Area 
(EBA) (Manu 2009, unpaginated, BLI 2009c). EBAs are territories less 
than 50,000 km\2\ (19,300 mi\2\) where at least two bird species with 
restricted ranges are found together, and represent priority areas for 
biodiversity. Nord-Ouest de Nuku Hiva is 9,000 ha area designated as an 
Important Bird Area (IBA) (Manu 2009, unpaginated). Designation as an 
IBA constitutes recognition of the area as a critical site for 
conservation of birds. In addition, Nuku Hiva is designated as an 
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) (Manu 2009, unpaginated). AZEs are 
considered areas that are in the most urgent need of conservation. 
Although Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka are designated as areas of importance to 
the conservation of birds, these designations only serve to identify 
areas of biodiversity and focus conservation efforts; there is no legal 
protection of these areas. There is one officially protected area on Ua 
Huka (Vaikivi), established in 1997, which is actively managed.
    In summary, regulations exist to protect the species and its 
habitat. The threats that affect the species on each island are 
different. On the island of Ua Huka, also described under Factors A and 
B, destruction and modification of habitat are not known to threaten 
this species and illegal hunting is not occurring. This is likely 
because the protected area on Ua Huka is actively managed, the human 
population is less substantial, and there is a local agreement 
preventing hunting on this island. Furthermore, pigeons were 
reintroduced to Ua Huka due to the absence of threats to the species. 
Therefore, we find that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms is not applicable to Ua Huka. However, as described in 
Factors A and B, habitat destruction continues to threaten this species 
and illegal hunting continues to occur on the island of Nuku Hiva. 
Therefore, we find that the existing regulatory mechanisms are 
inadequate to ameliorate the current threats to the Marquesan imperial 
pigeon on the island of Nuku Hiva.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    Introduced animal and plant species threaten the habitat and 
survival of the Marquesan imperial pigeon by inhibiting the growth of 
canopy tree species needed for nesting and roosting and creating 
competition for food sources.
    As described under Factor A, the introduction of livestock, 
including cattle, horses, goats and pigs, has caused and continues to 
cause substantial changes in the forest composition, affecting the 
amount of suitable habitat available for pigeons. Horses are now under 
control and cattle were eradicated by hunters (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 
9; Villard et al. 2003, p. 193). However, goats, in particular, 
overgraze native species to a level at which seedlings are consumed 
before they mature to a height out of goats' reach (Sykes 1969, p. 14; 
Parkes 1984, pp. 95, 96, 101; Villard et al. 2002, p. 189). 
Consequently, exotic plant species such as guava are able to 
proliferate, preventing regeneration of natural forest (Sykes 1969, p. 
15; Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 9). To restore native forests, measures to 
control feral goats are needed. Local inhabitants hunt goats and pigs 
(Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10); however, overgrazing continues to be a 
problem. Fenced enclosures would exclude any livestock and allow 
regeneration of native species (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 11). In 
addition, introduced rats on the island of Nuka Hiva inhibit 
regeneration of native trees by consuming the flowers, fruits, seeds, 
seedlings, leaves, buds, roots, and rhizomes (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 
9; Meyer and Butaud 2009, p. 1570) of native tree species, further 
contributing to the alteration of forest composition. Introduced 
species are not known to threaten pigeons on Ua Huka.
    Introduced rats on Nuku Hiva may also be a source of competition 
for food resources that would otherwise be available to pigeons. The 
diet for the Marquesan imperial pigeon consists of fruits from Ficus 
spp. and guava, foliage of S. saponaria, T. cattapa, and Misceltum 
spp., and the flowers of H. tiliaceus, C. manghas, and G. speciosa 
(Blanvillain and Thorsen 2003, p. 382). Rats are known to consume the 
flowers, fruits, and leaves of the same tree species, including guava, 
T. cattapa, Ficus spp., and S. saponaria (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 9). 
The consumption of these fruits and foliage by rats may reduce the 
available food supply for this frugivorous bird. Furthermore, during 
periods of limited fruit availability, the pigeons may also compete 
with the white-capped fruit pigeon (Ptilinopus dupetitbouarsii), a 
wider ranging pigeon found in French Polynesia (including Nuku Hiva and 
Ua Huka), for food sources (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). Abundance of 
fruit is critical to the breeding success of frugivorous birds. When 
food resources are limited, breeding output and fledgling and adult 
survival may also be affected (Thorsen et al. 2002, p. 10). This may be 
especially critical to the Marquesan imperial pigeon since it is a 
long-lived species with low fecundity. An increase in adult mortality 
due to decreased food availability would likely have a substantial 
impact on the breeding success and, ultimately, on the survival of this 
species.
    Island populations have a higher risk of extinction than mainland 
populations. Ninety percent of bird species driven to extinction were 
island species (as cited in Frankham 1997, p. 311). Based on genetics 
alone, endemic island species are predicted to have higher extinction 
rates than nonendemic island populations (Frankham 2007, p. 321). 
Small, isolated populations may experience decreased demographic 
viability (population birth and death rates, immigration and emigration 
rates, and sex ratios), increased susceptibility of extinction from 
stochastic environmental factors (e.g., weather events, disease), and 
an increased threat of extinction from genetic isolation and subsequent 
inbreeding depression and genetic drift. As discussed above, there are 
two small extant populations of Marquesan imperial pigeons, one on Nuku 
Hiva and a reintroduced population on Ua Huka. Because the species now 
present on Ua Huka originated from the Nuku Hiva population, there is 
no genetic variation between the two populations. Furthermore, we have 
no indication that there is natural dispersion between the populations 
and, thus, no genetic interchange. The lack of genetic variation may 
lead to inbreeding and associated complications, including reduced 
fitness. Species with low fecundity, like the pigeon, are particularly 
vulnerable to inbreeding depression because they can withstand less 
decrease in survival before population growth rates are affected and 
they recover more slowly (Lacy 2000, p. 47). In addition, genetic 
threats associated with small populations will exacerbate other threats 
to the species and likely increase the risk of extinction of island 
populations (Frankham 1997, p. 321).
    In summary, introduced livestock and rats are altering the native 
forests of Nuku Hiva on which the Marquesan

[[Page 50073]]

imperial pigeon depends. Native tree species are unable to regenerate 
due to overgrazing by goats; allowing graze-resistant exotic plant 
species to proliferate. Through consumption of fruits, flowers, seeds, 
and foliage, rats contribute to the alteration of the native forest and 
also serve as a source of competition for food. On Nuku Hiva and Ua 
Huka, the white-capped fruit pigeon may also serve as a source of 
competition for food during periods of limited fruit availability. When 
food resources are limited, breeding output and fledgling and adult 
survival may also be affected, which may be particularly critical for a 
species with low fecundity.
    Both pigeon populations are subject to detrimental effects typical 
of small island populations. Decreased demographic viability, 
environmental factors, and genetic isolation may lead to inbreeding 
depression and associated complications, including reduced fitness. 
Species with low fecundity are particularly vulnerable because they can 
withstand less decrease in survival and recover more slowly. These 
genetic threats will exacerbate other threats to the species and likely 
increase the risk of extinction. Therefore, we find that other natural 
or manmade factors are threats to the continued existence of the 
Marquesan imperial pigeon on both Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka.

Status Determination for the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon. The species is 
currently at risk on Nuku Hiva due to ongoing threats of habitat 
destruction and modification (Factor A); illegal hunting (Factor B); 
and competition with rats for food on Nuku Hiva, as well as 
demographic, genetic, and environmental stochastic events associated 
with the species' low population, restricted range, and low fecundity 
(Factor E). Furthermore, we have determined that the existing 
regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are not adequate to ameliorate the 
current threats to the species. In addition, we have determined that 
Factors A, B, C, and D are not factors affecting the continued 
existence of the species on Ua Huka. However, we have determined that 
the Ua Huka population is at risk due to demographic, genetic, and 
environmental stochastic events associated with the species' low 
population, restricted range, and low fecundity (Factor E).
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    The Marquesas imperial pigeon is restricted to two islands and has 
a total maximum combined population estimate of 200 (80-150 on Nuku 
Hiva and 50 on Ua Huka). Intact canopy on Nuku Hiva is rare due to 
conversion of land to agriculture, overgrazing by goats and the 
subsequent poor natural forest regeneration, and competition with 
exotic plant species, which has restricted this population to seven 
small sites on the island. Further loss of suitable habitat could have 
a large impact on this small isolated population. Furthermore, hunting 
of pigeons is illegal, but is not enforced. Because this species is a 
long-lived species with low fecundity, it is particularly vulnerable to 
continued illegal hunting and, on both Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka, 
detrimental effects typical of small island populations.
    Decreased demographic viability, environmental factors, and genetic 
isolation may lead to inbreeding depression and reduced fitness. 
Species with low fecundity are particularly vulnerable because they can 
withstand less decrease in survival and recover more slowly. These 
genetic threats will exacerbate other threats to the species and likely 
increase the risk of extinction. Based on the magnitude of the ongoing 
threats to the extremely small and isolated population of Marquesan 
Imperial Pigeon throughout its entire range, as described above, we 
determine that this species is in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its range. Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific 
and commercial information, we are listing the Marquesan Imperial 
Pigeon as an endangered species throughout all of its range. Because we 
find that the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon is endangered throughout all of 
its range, there is no reason to consider its status in a significant 
portion of its range.

VI. Slender-Billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris)

Species Description

    The slender-billed curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) is a species of 
wading bird, one of the six curlews of the same genus within the family 
Scolopacidae. It was described from Egypt in 1871 by Vieillot (Gretton 
1991, p. 1). It is medium-sized and mottled brown-grey in color. It has 
white underparts marked with black heart-shaped spots on the flanks. It 
has a decurved bill that tapers to a distinctly fine tip. It has pale, 
barred inner primary feathers and its secondary feathers contrast 
markedly with its brown-black primary feathers. Its tail is virtually 
unmarked, with a few dark bars on a white background (BLI 2006, p. 1).
    The species is believed to breed in Northwest Siberia (though the 
only two confirmed cases of breeding were in 1914 and 1924). The 
species migrates 5,000-6,000 km (3,100-3,700 mi) towards the west-
southwest across Kazakhstan, passing north of the Caspian and Black 
Seas through southeastern and southern Europe to its wintering grounds 
in the Mediterranean and Middle East (Gretton 1996, p. 6; Chandrinos 
2000, p. 1; Hirschfeld 2008, p. 139; Schmidt 2009, p. 46; Boere 2010, 
pers. comm.).
    The species has been sighted in Eastern Europe, including Russia, 
Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia; in 
Southern Europe, including Albania, Greece, Italy, and Turkey; in 
Western Europe, including France and Spain; in North Africa, including 
Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia; and in the Middle East, including Iran 
and Iraq (van der Have et al. 1998, p. 36; Chandrinos 2002, 
unpaginated; Gretton et al. 2002, pp. 335, 342; Gretton 2006, pp. 10-
15; BLI 2006, p. 2; Schmidt 2009, p. 44). It has also been reported in 
Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (BLI 
2006, p. 2).
    During the 19th Century, the slender-billed curlew was described as 
the most common curlew in countries such as Spain, Sicily, Malta, 
Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria; described as abundant in Romania, 
southeast Hungary, and Italy; and regularly recorded in France (Gretton 
1991, p. 16). Flocks were reported as hundreds, sometimes thousands, 
strong. Its population density frequently exceeded that of two relative 
species: The Eurasian curlew (Nemenius arquata) and the whimbrel 
(Numenius phaeopus) (Chandrinos 2000, p. 1). From 1900 to the 1930s, 
the species was still regularly recorded, although not as abundant as 
in the 1800s (Gretton 1991, p. 1). By 1940, a decline in slender-billed 
curlew populations was apparent and the species continued to decline, 
although flocks of more 100 birds were recorded in Morocco as late as 
the 1960s and 1970s (Gretton 1996, p. 6). In 1978, a flock of 150 birds 
was observed in Turkey (Nankinov 1991, p. 26). In the 1970s and 1980s, 
about 10-15 sightings

[[Page 50074]]

were reported annually. In the 1990s, annual records consist of 
sightings of 1 to 3 birds, with the exception of 19 birds sighted in 
Italy in 1995 and a group of up to 50 wintering along the southern 
coast of Iran (Baccetti et al. 1996, p. 53; Boere and Yurlov 1998, p. 
35; BLI 2006, p. 3; Hirschfeld 2008, p. 139).
    No nesting birds have been found since 1924, although in 1996 an 
adult slender-billed curlew in flight was reported west-north-west of 
Tara (Bojko and Nowak 1996, p. 79; Gretton et al. 2002, p. 342). 
Juveniles were reported in 1998 and 1999, indicating that the slender-
billed curlew is still breeding somewhere (Gretton et al. 2002, p. 335; 
Schmidt 2009, p. 43). Between 1987 and 1995, 1 to 3 slender-billed 
curlews were regularly recorded in Merja Zergas (Morocco), the last 
known regular wintering site; however, it has not been recorded at this 
location since 1995 (van der Have et al. 1998, p. 36; Gretton 1996, p. 
6; Chandrinos 2000, p. 2; Crockford 2009, p. 62). Most of the recent 
records have come from southeastern Europe in countries along the 
migration route (Chandrinos 2000, unpaginated). However, the last 
confirmed sighting of a slender-billed curlew was in 2001 in Hungary 
(Crockford 2009, p. 62; UNEP-AEWA 2009, unpaginated).
    The most recent population estimate is fewer than 50 birds (BLI 
2006, p. 3; Hirschfeld 2008, p. 139; BLI 2010, unpaginated). Surveys 
were conducted from 1987 through 2000 in various parts of the species' 
historic breeding range, which covered several thousand kilometers of 
habitat. No slender-billed curlews were found during these survey 
efforts (Gretton et al. 2002, p. 341; CMS update 2004, p. 2). In 2009-
10 a search to find this species within the non-breeding range began; 
this survey involved teams of observers covering 35 countries around 
the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Indian subcontinent (UNEP-AEWA 
2009, unpaginated). As of March 2010, no slender-billed curlews have 
been found, which may mean the population is below an absolute minimum 
to be able to recover (Boere 2010, pers. comm.).
    Current breeding grounds are unknown. What is known about this 
species' nests and nesting habitat comes from the only two confirmed 
historical accounts of slender-billed curlew nests. These accounts were 
both in the early 1900s and are described in four papers by V.E. 
Ushakav that were later translated. These nests were located in a wet 
marsh at Krasnoperovaya, south of Tara, Siberia. The habitat was 
described as open marsh containing some birch (Betula) and marshy areas 
adjacent to pine (Pinus) forests. The nests were located in the middle 
of the marsh on grassy hillocks or on small dry islands (Gretton et al. 
2002, pp. 335-336). Based on the historical habitat descriptions, 
breeding sites occurred in the forest-steppe zone, although it is 
unknown whether these sites were typical of the species; there is 
belief that the species may also breed in more northern areas in the 
southern taiga or in more southern areas in the northern parts of the 
steppe region (Belik 1994, pp. 37-38; Danilenko et al. 1996, pp. 71, 
76; Boere 2010, pers. comm.). Danilenko et al. (1996, p. 72) provided a 
more general habitat description taking into consideration the 
historical descriptions and the marginal position of those sites 
described by Ushakav. This description is as follows: Open, locally wet 
areas with dense sedge or grass vegetation, with patches of bare 
ground, relief which is not flat (moderate elevations and depressions), 
and with adjacent shrubs or woodland patches formed mostly by deciduous 
trees and/or pines.
    Based on the early accounts, complete clutch sizes were found to be 
four eggs per nest between May 11 and June 1, 1900. The young fledged 
in early July, and family groups of five to six birds were seen 
wandering around the marsh in early August. Overall, slender-billed 
curlews were seen in their nesting grounds in Siberia from mid-May 
until early August (Gretton et al. 2002, pp. 335-336).
    During seasonal migrations and in the winter months, the species is 
known to be more of a habitat generalist, using a variety of habitats, 
including steppe grassland, saltmarsh, fishponds, brackish lagoons, 
saltpans, tidal mudflats, semidesert, brackish wetlands, and sandy 
farmland near lagoons (Gretton 1991, p. 35; Hirschfeld 2008, p. 139).
    There is little information on the diet of this species. The birds 
at Merja Zerga (wintering ground in Morocco) have been recorded eating 
earthworms and tipulid larvae. Elsewhere, the species has been recorded 
eating other insects (grasshoppers, earwigs, and beetles), mollusks, 
and crustaceans (Gretton 1996, p. 7).

Conservation Status

    The slender-billed curlew is classified as critically endangered by 
the IUCN and is listed CITES Appendix I. Species included in CITES 
Appendix I are the most endangered CITES-listed species. They are 
considered threatened with extinction, and international trade is 
permitted only under exceptional circumstances, which generally 
precludes commercial trade. The species is also listed on Annex I of 
the European Union (EU) Wild Bird Directive (Europa Environment 2009, 
unpaginated) and Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of 
Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as CMS or Bonn 
Convention), which encourages international cooperation for the 
conservation of species.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Slender-Billed Curlew

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

Breeding Grounds
    Surveys of the forest-steppe area of Novosibirsk, Siberia in 1989 
revealed a considerable amount of arable land interspersed with grazing 
land, birch woods, and marshes (Gretton 1991, p. 35). Surveyors noted 
that in 1990 and 1994 there were still substantial areas of marsh at 
Krasnopervaya that were quite similar to that described by Ushakov, 
with possibly more trees being present than in the early 1900s. By 
1997, the area had changed dramatically; the remaining steppe plots on 
the higher parts of the marshes had been converted to wheat fields and 
the marsh itself completely covered with young forest (Boere and Yurlov 
1998, p. 37). Boere and Yurlov (1998, pp. 36-37) visited 7 of the 22 
sites described by Danilenko et al. (1996, p. 77), based on the current 
understanding of what slender-billed curlews require for breeding 
habitat, as the best potential localities for recording breeding 
slender-billed curlews. Of these seven localities, they found that four 
were completely destroyed by human activities such as overgrazing, 
building of drainage/irrigation canals, and conversion into arable 
land. They also found that agricultural activities drained the water 
table in many lakes, stimulating the growth of trees on formerly wet 
marshes.
    Threats on the breeding grounds are largely unknown due to the lack 
of information on this species' nesting localities. The impacts to the 
species from habitat modification would vary depending on which habitat 
types are used for nesting (Gretton 1996, p. 8). However, it should be 
noted that conversion to agriculture has not been limited to the later 
20th Century; from 1825-1858, the area under crops more than doubled in 
Novosibirsk, Omsk, and Tomsk (Gretton 1991, p. 36).
Passage Areas
    Passage areas are those sites along the migration route that the 
slender-billed curlew uses for resting and feeding.

[[Page 50075]]

Because of the lack of occurrence data for this species, it is 
difficult to assess how important certain areas are to the species and 
fully analyze the effects of habitat modification; however there is 
evidence that modification has occurred in Europe and Russia (Gretton 
1991, p. 33). Coastal passages in Russia and Europe have been less 
modified than inland wetlands; however, these wetlands provide only a 
small portion of the species habitat needs as 75 percent or more of the 
slender-billed curlew's migration is over land (Gretton 1991, p. 34).
    Gretton (1991, p. 34) noted that the conversion of the Russian 
steppe habitat, within northwest Kazakhstan, to arable agriculture may 
have significantly affected the slender-billed curlew. Within the 20th 
Century, central Europe experienced an immense loss of steppes and 
wetlands. For example, an important passage area, the Pannonian Plain, 
in southern Hungary and the former Yugoslavia has been almost entirely 
converted to arable farmland. The only natural remnants remaining are 
those protected by a reserve status. In Hungary, these protected areas 
combined comprise about 74,000 ha (182, 858 ac) but are scattered among 
a vast area of arable farmland. In the former Yugoslavia, the protected 
area equals about 6,600 ha (16,309 ac), which is only one percent of 
the area once comprised of steppes and wetlands (Gretton 1991, p. 34).
    In the past, there have been records of slender-billed curlews from 
the Danube floodplain (Nankinov 1991, p. 26). The majority of marshes 
and floodplains along the Romanian Danube have been drained. More 
recent sightings have come from the Danube Delta and Dobrodja lagoons, 
which have remained relatively intact. In Italy, during the late 20th 
Century, the area of arable farmland drastically increased, and largely 
at the expense of steppe habitat in the south. Furthermore, low-lying 
areas, such as the Valli di Comacchio, in Italy have been almost 
entirely drained and converted to agriculture (Gretton 1991, p. 34).
    Gretton (1991, p. 34) also noted that Turkish wetlands had been 
threatened with development in the late 20th Century. Also, some of the 
finest coastal wetlands in Greece have been damaged due to the creation 
of fish farms and expansion of agriculture (Gretton 1991, p. 34).
    It is probable that the species historically used a series of 
traditional passage sites for rest and feeding during migration. As 
these sites were drained or otherwise damaged, the slender-billed 
curlew's migration became more difficult, forcing birds to make longer 
nonstop flights and possibly using suboptimal coastal sites (Gretton 
1991, p. 35).
Wintering Grounds
    Threats to potential wintering habitat are summarized in the 1996 
version of the International Action Plan for the Slender-billed Curlew 
(Gretton 1996, pp. 8-9). Parts of the wintering grounds (e.g., the 
Rharb plain of northwest Morocco) have undergone extensive drainage of 
wetlands. Only a few scattered lakes and marshes, such as Merja Zerga, 
remain (Gretton 1991, p. 35). Furthermore, in Tunisia, temporary 
freshwater marshes of the Metbassta region have been seriously damaged 
by construction of dams for flood control and the provision of water 
supplies. Due to the damming of several streams, it is expected that 
the region will dry more frequently, reducing the suitability of the 
sites as foraging areas (van der Have et al. 1998, p.37). In other 
parts of North Africa, other types of wetlands have been less affected, 
including coastal sites and inland sites, such as temporary brackish 
wetlands. In the Middle East, the permanent marshes in the central 
(Qurnah) area were reduced to 40 percent of their 1985 extent by 1992, 
from 1,133,000 ha to 457,000 ha (2,800,000 ac to 1,129,000 ac), with 
further loss expected (Gretton 1996, p. 8). Although wintering grounds 
have experienced habitat modification, it is not to the same extent as 
that of the passage areas.
    In conclusion, this species annually migrates 5,000 to 6,500 km 
(3,100 to 4,000 mi) between its presumed breeding grounds in Siberia 
and the last known wintering ground in Morocco, passing though many 
European countries. Loss of breeding ground habitat would better 
explain the drastic population decline, since the species is thought to 
use a more specialized habitat for breeding. Belik (1994, p. 37) argued 
that the species may nest primarily in steppe areas. If this is the 
case, then the species population decline would be better explained by 
the extensive loss of this habitat type, particularly in Kazakhstan 
(Gretton 1996, p. 7). Many of the areas along the migratory route, such 
as steppe areas in central and eastern Europe, have experienced 
substantial anthropogenic impacts. Loss of passage sites may have made 
migration difficult for this species, especially if it is dependent on 
a series of traditional sites. However, since the species is thought to 
use a wide variety of habitats along its migratory route and in its 
wintering grounds, it is unlikely that habitat loss in these areas has 
played a substantial part in the decline of this species, especially 
since many other wading birds using these areas have not shown such a 
decline (Gretton 1996, pp. 7-8). Because Merja Zerga was the only known 
regular wintering site for the species, and the species has not been 
recorded there since 1995, the situation on wintering grounds is hard 
to assess. Although the loss of habitat does not fully explain the 
drastic reduction in this species, it certainly has contributed to the 
decline as a secondary factor.
    There is evidence of habitat loss for the slender-billed curlew in 
breeding, passage, and wintering grounds, and species experts name 
habitat loss as a threat to this species. With a population estimated 
at fewer than 50 birds, any loss of habitat could have a negative 
impact on this species. However, the habitat loss described above is 
historical and there is no information on habitat currently used by the 
slender-billed curlew for breeding, passage, or wintering grounds or 
habitat modification within these areas. At this time, there is not 
enough information to adequately assess the current or potential future 
threat of habitat modification or the impacts on this species. 
Furthermore, other species of waders that use the same type of habitat 
have not undergone drastic population declines seen in the slender-
billed curlew population. Therefore, we find that present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of the habitat or range is 
not a threat to the continued existence of the slender-billed curlew 
throughout its range.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Being the largest waders, curlews are automatically a target for 
hunting, particularly as their meat is said to taste ``extremely good'' 
(Gretton 1991, p. 37). Large-scale hunting of waders was known to occur 
across most of Europe during the early 20th Century, with curlews being 
preferred (Gretton 1996, p. 8). Although slender-billed curlews are 
half the weight of Eurasian curlews, they are also subject to hunting 
due to the similarity in appearance. Slender-billed curlews have been 
seen and shot with the use of decoys for Eurasian curlews (Gretton 
1991, p. 37). Because the bulk of the species' migration route is over 
land, it is likely to be more at risk for hunting as inland sites are 
more accessible to man and thus have a greater concentration of hunters 
(Gretton 1991, p. 40). Furthermore, this species has a reputation for 
being ``tame,'' in that it does not show fear of

[[Page 50076]]

humans, and was easily targeted during a hunt (Gretton 1996, p. 8).
    A significant number of slender-billed curlew specimens from the 
early 20th Century were from markets, notably from Hungary and Italy 
(Gretton 1991, pp. 37-38). Between 1962 and 1987, 17 slender-billed 
curlews were known to have been shot (13 of these in Italy and former 
Yugoslovia) (Gretton 1996, p. 9). Accurate hunting records are not 
available for this species. The only records of shot slender-billed 
curlews are those that reach museum collections; Gretton (1991, p. 37) 
estimates that these most likely represent a small proportion, less 
than one percent, of all specimens of this species shot and sold and 
that thousands of this species were likely shot over Italy from 1880 to 
1950. In parts of North Africa, hunting pressure was strong up to at 
least the 1970s (Gretton 1996, p. 9). In Morocco, the slender-billed 
curlew has not only been hunted by locals, but also by foreign hunters 
via tourist agencies (Gretton 1991, p. 38). One agency is known to 
shoot regularly in the northern part of Merja Zerga. As late as 1980, 
one guide described the taking of ``a great number'' from a flock of 
about 500 in Morocco (Gretton 1991, p. 38).
    Information strongly indicates that hunting was a significant 
factor in the decline of the slender-billed curlew. Furthermore, loss 
of habitat may have concentrated this species in remaining suitable 
areas making the species more vulnerable to hunting at these sites. 
Although hunting played a significant role in the decline of slender-
billed curlews in the early 20th Century, it still poses a serious 
threat to the species (Gretton 1991, p. 41). Even after the species 
became one of the rarest birds in Europe, 15 slender-billed curlews 
were shot between 1962 and 1987 in 5 countries. In at least two cases, 
the birds were shot to obtain a scientific specimen; in the other 
cases, it is not known whether the birds were purposely shot, but 
Gretton (1991, p. 41) suggests that there is considerable interest in 
the species for its rarity value. Although it seems unlikely that a 
slender-billed curlew could be found and shot with such a low 
population, in 1989 a slender-billed curlew was shot at Merja Zerga in 
Morocco.
    In countries where the slender-billed curlew is protected from 
hunting, but other curlews can be legally shot, the slender-billed 
curlew is still at risk given the similarity of appearance and the 
inability of hunters to distinguish between species (Gretton 1991, p. 
40). Italy has the most uncontrolled hunting in Europe, although 
hunting pressure is also heavy and often unregulated in Turkey, Greece, 
the former Yugoslavia, France, Spain, and Morocco. In Albania, the 
economic situation is such that curlews are likely at some risk due to 
hunting. Although all curlew species are protected in Bulgaria, there 
are problems with poaching and uncontrolled foreign hunters shooting 
globally threatened species. Intense hunting pressure in some areas of 
Greece puts adjacent areas historically used by slender-billed curlew 
at risk from illegal encroachment by hunters. Italy has problems with 
uncontrolled hunting next to and within protected areas. Hunting is 
allowed in the northern part of Merja Zerga, and as stated above, a 
slender-billed curlew was shot and wounded there in 1989. Slender-
billed curlews and other species of curlews are protected in Turkey, 
but other waders are not protected and almost all waders are liable to 
be shot as there is little awareness or enforcement of existing laws 
(Gretton 1996, pp. 10-15). Given the similarity in appearance to the 
Eurasian curlew, what few slender-billed curlews remain are still 
threatened by the continued legal and illegal hunting of curlews.
    In 1975, the slender-billed curlew was listed on Appendix II of the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between 
governments to ensure that the international trade of CITES-listed 
plant and animal species does not threaten species' survival in the 
wild. There are currently 175 CITES Parties (member countries or 
signatories to the Convention). Under this treaty, CITES Parties 
regulate the import, export, and reexport of CITES-protected plants and 
animal species (also see Factor D). Trade must be authorized through a 
system of permits and certificates that are provided by the designated 
CITES Scientific and Management Authorities of each CITES Party (CITES 
2010a, unpaginated).
    In 1983, the slender-billed curlew was uplisted to Appendix I of 
CITES. An Appendix-I listing includes species threatened with 
extinction whose trade is permitted only under exceptional 
circumstances, which generally precludes commercial trade. The import 
of an Appendix-I species requires the issuance of both an import and 
export permit. Import permits are issued only if findings are made that 
the import would be for purposes that are not detrimental to the 
survival of the species in the wild and that the specimen will not be 
used for primarily commercial purposes (CITES Article III(3)). Export 
permits are issued only if findings are made that the specimen was 
legally acquired and trade is not detrimental to the survival of the 
species in the wild (CITES Article III(2)).
    On the same day the slender-billed curlew was listed in Appendix I, 
Austria entered a reservation stating that it would not be bound by the 
provisions of CITES relating to trade of slender-billed curlew (CITES 
2010b, unpaginated). Since the species was first listed in CITES 
Appendix II in 1975, the only CITES trade reported to the United 
Nations Environment Programme--World Conservation Monitoring Center 
(UNEP-WCMC) occurred in 1986. Two bodies were imported into Denmark 
from Austria, and then reexported from Denmark to Austria, for 
commercial and scientific purposes (UNEP-WCMC 2010, unpaginated). In 
1989, Austria withdrew its reservation (CITES 2010b, unpaginated). 
Based on the low numbers of slender-billed curlew reported to be in 
trade, with no trade reported since 1986, we believe that international 
trade is not a threat to the species. Furthermore, we have no 
information indicating that illegal trade is a threat to this species.
    In summary, hunting has been indicated as a factor in the range-
wide decline of this species during the first half of the 20th century. 
Today, both legal and illegal hunting of curlews is likely to still 
occur throughout the range of this species. Given the similarity in 
appearance with other curlew species and its rarity value, the slender-
billed curlew is still at risk of hunting and based on the very small 
population size and the long-range migratory habits of this species, 
loss of individual birds is expected to have a significant impact on 
the remaining population. Therefore, we find that overutilization is a 
threat to the continued existence of the slender-billed curlew 
throughout its range.

C. Disease or Predation

    We are unaware of any threats due to disease or predation for this 
subspecies. As a result, we are not considering disease or predation to 
be contributing threats to the continued existence of the slender-
billed curlew.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    As stated above, the slender-billed curlew is listed on Annex I of 
the European Union (EU) Wild Bird Directive, which includes protection 
for habitat, bans on activities that directly threaten wild birds, and 
a network of protected areas for wild birds found

[[Page 50077]]

within the EU (Europa Environment 2009, unpaginated).
    The slender-billed curlew is listed in Appendix I of CITES. CITES 
is an international treaty among 175 nations, including Albania, 
Algeria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, 
Morocco, Oman, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, 
Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen, and the United States, entered into force in 
1975. In the United States, CITES is implemented through the U.S. 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Secretary of the 
Interior has delegated the Department's responsibility for CITES to the 
Director of the Service and established the CITES Scientific and 
Management Authorities to implement the treaty. Under this treaty, 
member countries work together to ensure that international trade in 
animal and plant species is not detrimental to the survival of wild 
populations by regulating the import, export, and reexport of CITES-
listed animal and plant species. As discussed under Factor B, we do not 
consider international trade to be a threat impacting this species. 
Therefore, protection under this Treaty is an adequate regulatory 
mechanism.
    The Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) provides restrictions on the 
importation of slender-billed curlew into the United States. The 
purpose of the WBCA is to promote the conservation of exotic birds by 
ensuring that all imports to the United States of exotic birds is 
biologically sustainable and is not detrimental to the species. The 
WBCA generally restricts the importation of most CITES-listed live or 
dead exotic birds except for certain limited purposes such as 
zoological display or cooperative breeding programs. Import of dead 
specimens is allowed for scientific specimens and museum specimens. To 
date, no request for importation of slender-billed curlew into the 
United States has been received.
    This species is also listed in Appendix I of the CMS or Bonn 
Convention, which includes species threatened with extinction. This 
convention encourages international cooperation for the conservation of 
species. Inclusion in Appendix I of CMS means that member states work 
toward strict protection, conserving and restoring the habitat of the 
species, controlling other reasons for endangerment, and mitigating 
obstacles to migration, whereas Appendix II encourages multistate and 
regional cooperation for conservation (CMS 2009, unpaginated).
    A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed under CMS 
auspices and became effective on September 10, 1994. The MOU area 
covers 30 Range States in Southern and Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, 
and the Middle East. The MOU has been signed by 18 Range States and 3 
cooperating organizations (CMS 2010, p. 17). In early 1996, a status 
report was produced and distributed by the CMS Secretariat. An 
International Action Plan for the Conservation of the Slender-billed 
Curlew was prepared by BLI in 1996, which was later approved by the 
European Commission and endorsed by the Fifth Meeting of the CMS. The 
Action Plan is the main tool for conservation activities for the 
species under the MOU. Conservation priorities include: effective legal 
protection for the slender-billed curlew and its look-alikes; locating 
its breeding grounds and key wintering and passage sites; appropriate 
protection and management of its habitat; and increasing the awareness 
of politicians in the affected countries (CMS 2009, unpaginated).
    The CMS Web site (CMS 2004) includes an update on the progress 
being made under the Slender-billed curlew MOU. It states that 
conservation activities have already been undertaken or are under way 
in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Morocco, the Russian Federation, 
Ukraine, and Iran (CMS 2009, unpaginated). However, no details of these 
activities are provided.
    In Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey, the slender-billed curlew is 
protected (Gretton 1996, pp. 10, 14); however, we have been unable to 
determine under what laws it is protected or the provisions of the 
protection. All Numenius species are protected, along with most other 
waders, in Bulgaria under Ordinance 342, 21/4/86. The penalty for 
shooting a slender-billed curlew is approximately 450 U.S. dollars 
(USD) (Gretton 1996, p. 10). The slender-billed curlew is also 
protected in Greece and Hungary with penalties of 300-3,000 USD and 
1,185 USD with potentially one year in jail, respectively (Gretton 
1996, p. 11). In the Islamic Republic of Iran, hunting of waders is not 
allowed and all species of waders are protected (Behrouzi-Rad 1991, p. 
33). Curlews are not listed as legal quarry species in Italy, and are 
thus considered protected by Gretton (1996, p. 12). All curlew species 
are protected in Morocco; however, other species of waders are not 
(Gretton 1996, p. 13).
    Based on the lack of information available on this species 
(location of breeding and wintering areas), it is difficult to assess 
the adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms in preventing the 
extinction of this species. Although progress is under way in various 
countries to better protect the habitat, prevent loss of individuals 
from hunting and misidentification, and educate the public about the 
precarious status of this species, not all 30 Range States of this 
species have signed the MOU (CMS 2009, unpaginated). Furthermore, many 
of the range countries have provisions in place to protect the slender-
billed curlew; however, legal and illegal hunting continues to be a 
threat to the species (See Factor B). In countries where the slender-
billed curlew is protected from hunting, but other curlews can be 
legally shot, the slender-billed curlew is still at risk given the 
similarity of appearance and the inability of hunters to distinguish 
between species (Gretton 1991, p. 40). In addition, enforcement of 
existing laws is also a problem in many countries (See Factor B). 
Therefore, we find that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms is a threat to the continued existence of the slender-billed 
curlew throughout its range.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

    The status of the slender-billed curlew is extremely precarious. As 
stated above, the most recent population estimate for this species is 
fewer than 50 birds. Most sightings of this species in the 1990s were 
of groups consisting of no more than three birds, and the last 
confirmed sighting of a slender-billed curlew was of a single bird in 
2001. Small, isolated populations may experience decreased demographic 
viability (population birth and death rates, immigration and emigration 
rates, and sex ratios), increased susceptibility of extinction from 
stochastic environmental factors (e.g., weather events, disease), and 
an increased threat of extinction from genetic isolation and subsequent 
inbreeding depression and genetic drift. In smaller populations, 
additional threats to persistence and stability often surface, which 
can further lead to instability of population dynamics. Among these 
factors are rates of mate acquisition, breeding success, transmission 
of genetic material, dispersal, survival, and sex determination. 
Further, fluctuations in rates can couple with reduction in growth 
rates to act synergistically (Lacy 2000, pp. 39-40).
    Due to the distance of annual migration, the geographic spread of 
the range, and the limited numbers of birds, the slender-billed curlew 
is likely vulnerable to one or more threats

[[Page 50078]]

associated with small population size. Early records of this species 
often referred to large flocks on migration and in winter. Based on 
what we know of other similar migratory bird species, it is likely that 
the experience of older birds was important in guiding such flocks 
along the migration route. As slender-billed curlew numbers declined, 
individuals would be more likely to join flocks of other species, 
notably the Eurasian curlew. The chances of slender-billed curlews 
meeting each other on the breeding grounds would become increasingly 
low (as was described for the Eskimo curlew by Bodsworth in 1954). The 
smaller the population, the less likely it is that this species would 
be able to locate another slender-billed curlew and successfully 
reproduce. Since this species has not been recorded on the only known 
historic breeding grounds for a number of years (Gretton 1996, p. 6), 
it is difficult to assess whether a breakdown of social behavior 
patterns has already occurred.
    Migrant waterbirds are particularly vulnerable to climate change 
due to their reliance on a network of dispersed sites between which 
they must travel. Wetlands are one of the habitats likely to be most 
affected by climate change. Additionally, timing of migration between 
sites is extremely important as they must arrive at certain sites in 
time to benefit from resource abundance (Maclean et al. 2008, p. 22). 
Migration routes could also be affected by the amount and location of 
suitable habitat. The slender-billed curlew was found by Maclean et al. 
(2008, p. 57) to be critically threatened by climate change, after 
factoring in population size, range size, fragmentation, habitat, and 
food requirements.
    It is predicted that the annual mean temperatures in Asia Minor 
(Turkey and Albania), the Middle East, and Europe will increase more 
than the global mean (Maclean et al. 2008, pp. 15-16). Within Asia 
Minor and the Middle East, temperature increases are predicted to be 
greater during the summer than winter and greater inland than coastal 
areas. Changes are predicted to be between 2-7 degree Celsius ([deg]C) 
(3.6-12.6 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F)), depending on the season and 
area. Asia Minor is predicted to experience significant decreases in 
rainfall, with a 20-30 percent decrease in summer and a 15-25 percent 
decrease in the winter. The northern Middle East is predicted to 
experience 30-50 percent reductions during the summer, but no major 
change during the winter. The southern Arabian Peninsula is predicted 
to be wetter throughout the year with a 5-20 percent increase in 
precipitation (Maclean et al. 2008, pp. 16, 18).
    The warming in northern Europe is likely to be highest in winter 
with an increase of almost 10 [deg]C (18 [deg]F). In the Mediterranean, 
the warming is predicted to be highest in summer with a predicted 
increase of 5 [deg]C (9 [deg]F). Annual rainfall is likely to increase 
in most of northern Europe, but decrease in most of the Mediterranean 
area. In general, increases will be more pronounced in winter, whereas 
decreases will be more pronounced in summer. By 2100, southern Spain 
and Greece are expected to experience decreases in rainfall of 15-30 
percent (Maclean et al. 2008, pp. 16, 18).
    All of Africa is expected to be warmer this century and the annual 
average warming throughout the continent higher than the global 
average. By 2065, coastal Africa temperature is expected to increase by 
1.5-3 [deg]C (2.7-5.4 [deg]F). Rainfall is predicted to decrease, with 
the Mediterranean coast experiencing less than half the present annual 
rainfall (Maclean et al. 2008, pp. 15, 17)
    In addition to increases in temperature and fluctuations in 
rainfall, sea-level is projected to rise by 18 to 59 cm during the 21st 
Century, with an estimate of approximately 4 mm per year (Maclean et 
al. 2008, p. 19). However, it should be noted that these estimates do 
not incorporate uncertainty in certain factors, such as ice sheet flow. 
In light of these predictions associated with climate change, slender-
billed curlew nesting habitat may be threatened by the expansion of 
agriculture into areas formally too cold for farming. Additionally, 
wintering habitat is likely to be threatened, to some degree, by sea-
level rise, but more so by drier conditions in the Mediterranean and 
Black Seas areas, which may reduce the area covered by wetlands 
(Maclean et al. 2008, p. 63).
    In summary, breakdown of social behavior patterns is increasingly 
likely to occur in addition to the general threats posed by small 
population size such as increased susceptibility to demographic, 
environmental, and genetic stochasticity, as this species' population 
levels decline. Because so few individuals have been found in recent 
years, it is difficult to assess whether the breakdown of social 
behavior patterns has already occurred. However, given the species' low 
numbers, this and other threats of small population size could already 
be occurring. Additionally, climate change could potentially alter 
slender-billed curlew habitat such that it negatively impacts the 
species. Although data on habitat currently used by slender-billed 
curlews is lacking, based on historical occurrence records nesting 
areas could be further threatened by agriculture expansion, and the 
amount of essential wetlands along passage and wintering areas could be 
significantly decreased. Therefore, we find that natural and manmade 
factors are threats to the continued existence of the slender-billed 
curlew throughout its range.

Status Determination for the Slender-Billed Curlew

    We have carefully assessed the best available scientific and 
commercial information regarding the past, present, and potential 
future threats faced by the slender-billed curlew. The species is 
currently at risk throughout all of its range due to ongoing threats of 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes in the form of hunting (Factor B) and threats 
associated with small population size (Factor E). Furthermore, we have 
determined that the existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are not 
adequate to ameliorate the threat of hunting to the species.
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.''
    The status of the slender-billed curlew is difficult to assess; 
species records and threats to the species are largely historical, the 
species has not been recorded since 2001, and recent studies have 
concentrated on locating the species rather than current threats to the 
species. However, total population for slender-billed curlew is 
estimated at fewer than 50 individuals. With a population of this size, 
the population may be below an absolute minimum to be able to recover, 
and genetic impacts and a breakdown of social behaviors will naturally 
occur, putting the species at a higher risk of extinction. Furthermore, 
the slender-billed curlew is at risk of being hunted either for its 
rarity value or due to the inability of hunters to distinguish between 
curlew species. Any loss of individuals from the remaining population 
would have a significant effect on the species' ability to recover. At 
this time, regulatory mechanisms, although in place, appear to be 
inadequate as the slender-billed curlew is still threatened with legal 
and illegal hunting. Based on the magnitude of the ongoing threats to 
the extremely small population of slender-billed curlew throughout its 
entire range, as

[[Page 50079]]

described above, we determine that this species is in danger of 
extinction throughout all of its range. Therefore, on the basis of the 
best available scientific and commercial information, we are listing 
the slender-billed curlew as an endangered species throughout all of 
its range. Because we find that the slender-billed curlew is endangered 
throughout all of its range, there is no reason to consider its status 
in a significant portion of its range.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, requirements for Federal 
protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition 
through listing results in public awareness, and encourages and results 
in conservation actions by Federal and foreign governments, private 
agencies and interest groups, and individuals.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, and as implemented by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 402, requires Federal agencies to evaluate 
their actions within the United States or on the high seas with respect 
to any species that is proposed or listed as endangered or threatened, 
and with respect to its critical habitat, if any is being designated. 
However, given that the Cantabrian capercaillie, Marquesan imperial 
pigeon, Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon's 
courser, and slender-billed curlew are not native to the United States, 
we are not proposing critical habitat for these species under section 4 
of the Act.
    Section 8(a) of the Act allows limited financial assistance for the 
development and management of programs that the Secretary of the 
Interior determines to be necessary or useful for the conservation of 
endangered and threatened species in foreign countries. Sections 8(b) 
and 8(c) of the Act authorize the Secretary to encourage conservation 
programs for foreign endangered species and to provide assistance for 
such programs in the form of personnel and the training of personnel.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered and 
threatened wildlife. As such, these prohibitions are applicable to the 
Cantabrian capercaillie, Marquesan imperial pigeon, Eiao Marquesas 
reed-warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon's courser, and slender-billed 
curlew. These prohibitions, under 50 CFR 17.21, make it illegal for any 
person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to ``take'' 
(take includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, collect, or to attempt any of these) within the United States 
or upon the high seas, import or export, deliver, receive, carry, 
transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a 
commercial activity, or to sell or offer for sale in interstate or 
foreign commerce, any endangered wildlife species. It also is illegal 
to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife 
that has been taken in violation of the Act. Certain exceptions apply 
to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22, for endangered species, and 17.32 for threatened species. With 
regard to endangered wildlife, a permit may be issued for the following 
purposes: for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities.

Required Determinations

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with regulations adopted under section 4(a) of 
the Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this 
determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 
49244).

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this final rule is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-R9-ES-2009-0084 or upon request from the Endangered Species 
Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section).

Author

    The primary author of this final rule is staff of the Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 
of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.


0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by adding new entries for ``Adjutant, 
greater,'' ``Capercaillie, Cantabrian,'' ``Courser, Jerdon's,'' 
``Curlew, slender-billed,'' ``Pigeon, Marquesan imperial,'' and 
``Warbler, Eiao Marquesas reed-'' in alphabetical order under BIRDS to 
the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Species
---------------------------------------------------   Historic range    Vertebrate population where     Status     When listed    Critical     Special
          Common name             Scientific name                        endangered or threatened                                 habitat       rules
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
             Birds
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Adjutant, greater..............  Leptoptilos        .................  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
                                  dubius.
 

[[Page 50080]]

 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Capercaillie, Cantabrian.......  Tetrao urogallus   .................  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
                                  cantabricus.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Courser, Jerdon's..............  Rhinoptilus        India............  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
                                  bitorquatus.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Curlew, slender-billed.........  Numenius           .................  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
                                  tenuirostris.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pigeon, Marquesan imperial.....  Ducula galeata...  French Polynesia.  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Warbler, Eiao Marquesas reed-..  Acrocephalus       .................  Entire......................  E                     783           NA           NA
                                  percernis
                                  aquilonis.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: June 21, 2011.
Gregory E. Siekaniec,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-19953 Filed 8-10-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P