12:34 09 December 2012
Two iconic birds that were mentioned in the 12 Days of Christmas song are rapidly declining in numbers. Based on the statistics gathered by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the population of grey partridge has fallen by 30% and is now estimated to be around 43,000 pairs. Turtle doves on the other hand, are losing more. Currently, it is estimated that there are only 14,000 pairs and this is down nearly by 60% in the last five years to 2010.
RSPB conservation scientist Dr Mark Eaton describes the situation as “disaster.”
“Losing six out of ten of our turtle doves and three out of ten grey partridges in five years is nothing short of an unsustainable wildlife disaster.”
“The turtle dove is in a great degree of danger - if this trend were to continue we could be down to fewer than 1000 pairs by the middle of the next decade, with complete extinction a real possibility.
Meanwhile, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be doing more to support recovery of farmland and woodland birds. A spokesman said: “We all have a part to play, and we will continue to work with conservation groups and landowners to reverse this trend.”
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