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Seabird Numbers Have Plunged Worldwide Since 1950 July 17, 2015
Ancient Murrelets
Ancient Murrelets, seen above, are among the species studied since 1950.
Scientists say there has been a 70 percent drop in the populations of seabirds they have monitored around the world over the past 60 years, equivalent to the loss of about 230 million birds.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers from the University of British Columbia say that pollution, climate change, entanglement in fishing gear and the overfishing of species the birds rely on to eat are among the most important factors behind the sharp decline.

“Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems,” said co-author Michelle Paleczny, in a statement.

”When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems.”

The study is said to be the first to estimate the overall change in global seabird populations.

Photo: Daniel Donnecke - University of British Columbia