A new report that was just released yesterday documents the siting of the extremely rare Crow Honeyeater in the forests of New Caledonia. The bird which can only be found in this forest, is on the critically endangered species list and was thought to have possibly been extinct already. Along with this surprising find, over a dozen other new species of wild life were also spotted including several varieties of plants and 3 new species of various reptiles including a new variety of geckos.
These new discoveries come from a survey mission to Mount Panié, the tallest mountain to be found in New Caledonia. In 2011, this small french island in the pacific, just east of Australia was listed as the second most endangered hotspot in the world by Conservation International who spearheaded this survey. Home to many species that can only be found in the forest of New Caledonia, the area is rich in plant life including several thousand endemic plant species, over a hundred different varieties of birds, and a handful of mammals and bats. Unfortunately, the forests have been decimated by the plight of deforestation, nickel mining operations, climate changes due to global warming, and agriculture. Disturbingly, in spite of this wealth of biodiversity, all but about 5 percent of the forests in New Caledonia have been destroyed.
Biodiversity hotspots such as these are not only essential for the flagship species that they contain, but loss of such areas is also a loss of valuable sources of food, potential medicines, fresh water supplies, and climate regulation and air purifying services that are performed by areas like this all over the world. Loss of fragile areas such as this can have a global impact, and as we see more and more of the forests and biodiversity hotspots being threatened, the situation faces a tipping point if strong conservation efforts are not made soon.