The Peacocks have been around for a while now, but there is one place in the world where they have not yet gone extinct: the Caribbean.
According to new research, the ‘Peacocks’, an indigenous Australian bird family, are being decimated by overpopulation, habitat loss and poaching.
According the latest research, over the past five decades, the population of the peacock family has decreased by around 30 per cent in the United States, from approximately 20,000 to 6,500.
“Peacock populations in the Caribbean have declined from more than 40,000 in 1980 to less than 20,500 today,” Dr. Mark Taylor, the lead author of the research, told the ABC.
“There has been no decline in Australia and no decline anywhere else.”
“These findings are worrying,” he added.
“We are facing an unprecedented threat of extinction of one of our native birds, the native Australian peacocks, and it has been for decades.”
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that, since the early 20th century, the populations of the birds have declined by a factor of three, with a loss of over one million individuals over that time.
The decline is being driven by a combination of habitat loss, human activity, climate change, poaching and disease.
Dr. Taylor said it was unclear why the decline has been so rapid in the Americas, which had more native peacocking birds.
He explained that while it was thought that some of the decline had been caused by climate change and the introduction of non-native species, a number of other factors had also contributed to the decline.
“It is the most severe decline in the species, and that is why the population is so important in many ways, including conservation,” Dr Taylor said.
“The peacocked is the one of the largest birds in the Western Hemisphere, and they are the last of the native birds to die off.”
The decline in peacOCK numbers began in the early 2000s, with the loss of a few hundred individuals over a period of several years.
Dr Taylor told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that peacLOCKs populations had declined by 40 per cent over the last 25 years.
He said this was caused by habitat loss as well as poaching and habitat loss by humans.
Dr Taytons findings have been welcomed by conservation groups.
“In this day and age when conservation is at an all-time high, there is a real need to acknowledge and acknowledge that this is not just a global problem, but one of a particular Australian and New Zealand region, and this is impacting our native wildlife in particular,” said Kate Morgan, the National Geographic Society’s director of the Conservation of Birds Program.
“Our peacocker populations are declining, which means that they are not surviving in the wild, and the problem has a global reach.”
Dr Taylor added that the decline was also causing stress for the peahens, which he said were very resilient, and could survive a loss in numbers.
“They are very adaptable and resilient,” Dr Tays said.
The researchers also found that the peabirds were suffering from increased disease, which was one of their greatest challenges.
Dr Williams said that it was “disconcerting” that the population had not recovered since the beginning of the last century.
“You know there are some people who say, ‘well, the peasants are always going to have to go and graze the bush’, and I think it’s an absolutely reasonable thing to do,” she said.
Ms Morgan said the decline in populations was “very alarming” and said it “may be the tip of the iceberg” of the problems facing the peafowls.
“I think it would be more useful to think about what the implications for the other native bird species would be,” she added.