Protection plan announced for threatened birds

Switzerland is to step up efforts to protect two birds currently considered at risk in the country.

This content was published on April 29, 2008 minutes

The Federal Environment Office in Bern said numbers of wood grouse and middle-spotted woodpecker were falling, and even disappearing altogether in some areas.

The wood grouse, known for its elaborate courting display, has disappeared from the Vaud Alps and canton Ticino, and is now only found in the Jura mountains, the pre-Alps and canton Graubünden.

Around 1,000 the birds remain and a lack of females is driving males into the open.

There are around 500 middle-spotted woodpecker couples remaining in 12 cantons north of the Alps, with changes to forests putting them under threat.

The plans to save and improve the birds' habitat have been drawn up in cooperation with the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds.

The plans, costing nearly SFr35 million ($34million) also include strategies for improving the natural diversity in forests and more coordination between cantons and forest authorities.

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