According to Professor İlhami Kiziroğlu of Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, the total bird count in the nation has fallen by 50% in just the past two decades, with some species having lost up to 75% of their populations.
As the country's wetlands and lakes continue to dry up, Professor Kiziroğlu, who heads the university's Environmental Education and Bird Research Center, warns that another 70% of the remaining avian species are also heading toward extinction.
With Turkey being an important nesting ground and winter destination for birds, Professor Kiziroğlu cautioned that of the 435 different avian species currently found in Turkey, more than 100 may become extinct. Some have already disappeared, including the Oriental Darter, which had nested around Lake Amik until it dried up in the 1960s, and the Bald Ibis, which has ceased to reproduce naturally in Turkey.
Also severely threatened is the White-headed duck, listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Professor Kiziroğlu has thus urged Turkish officials toward preventive measures such as halting the draining of important wetlands.
With our thanks to Professor Kiziroğlu for your research calling attention to this sad predicament being endured by our avian friends. Let us do our utmost to protect the endangered birds and all animals through our more sustainable lifestyles in cooperation with one another.
During an April 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke with concern for the future of our animal inhabitants as she reminded of humanity's responsibility to care for the environment we share with all fellow beings.