A "Snowy" swoops down on its prey (probably a lemming).
Photo credit - Government of Quebec.
The beautiful Snowy Owl, like so many other wild creatures on Earth, faces an uncertain future. The “Red List,” a British agency, has just put the graceful, white bird of prey on the “vulnerable” list for the first time. It has drastically downgraded earlier estimates of 200 thousand individuals, worldwide, to as low as 10 thousand.
Snowy Owl numbers have proven hard to judge since they fluctuate so widely, depending on the availability of food. Factors in their decline may include illegal hunting, collisions with vehicles and power lines and climate change, which can affect the availability of prey. So the agency’s prognosis is a somber one. “This species faces a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.”
Snowy Owls nest in the Arctic, but have a range that spans the northern hemisphere.” A conservation specialist, Andy Symes of Birdlife International urges, Snowy Owls must now be considered "a high priority for further research and conservation action."
"Red List" has been assessing the status of wildlife species for 50 years.
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