The Endangered Wildlife Trust is trying to reverse the rapid decline and likely extinction of South Africa’s blue swallow population.
The blue swallow population faced certain extinction if their breeding habitats could not be secured, Beeld newspaper reported yesterday.
According to Dr Ian Little, programme manager of the EWT’s Threatened Grassland Species Programme, loss of suitable habitat was the primary cause of the blue swallow’s decline, but the causes for recent continued declines were uncertain.
“Four known regional populations of blue swallow have already gone extinct in South Africa in the past decade. This includes a breeding population that was in the Kaapsehoop region, which was once recognised as a blue swallow natural heritage site.”
The South African population now consisted of fewer than 38 known breeding pairs, with fewer than five remaining in Mpumalanga and 35 in KwaZulu-Natal, Little said.
The EWT had initiated a project that aimed to microchip blue swallow chicks, in an effort to get more clarity on exactly why this species had declined so drastically over the past few years.