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Vila do Porto ,  July 25, 2018

Santa Maria goldcrest monitoring campaign is "fundamental" to prepare action plan for species conservation, says Marta Guerreiro

The Regional Secretary for Energy, Environment and Tourism stressed today the importance of an action plan for the conservation of Santa Maria goldcrest, noting that the monitoring campaign of this bird species, currently underway, is "fundamental" for the preparation of this document.
"This endemic subspecies is only found on the island of Santa Maria, being increasingly sough-after for birdwatching activities as it is the smallest bird in Europe," said Marta Guerreiro. She spoke in Vila do Porto during a monitoring action aimed at the collection of base information for the preparation and implementation of the action plan, in which it was possible to watch several Santa Maria goldcrest specimens.
The Secretary for the Environment pointed out that this bird "is classified as "threatened" in the Red Book of Vertebrates in Portugal and as 'critically endangered" due to the high fragmentation of its already reduced habitat.
"Therefore, it is pertinent to assess and monitor the endemic Santa Maria goldcrest species in order acquire an in-depth knowledge on its habitat and to establish clear and efficient conservation strategies," added the government official.
Marta Guerreiro added that the "Santa Maria Natural Park monitors species through visual and auditory censuses, which provides some knowledge about its dispersion and abundance. The implementation of a more complete monitoring system, with the acquisition of new equipment, is expected by the end of 2018."
"This monitoring project will have a minimum implementation period of five years so that the results may be properly interpreted. It also provides for the creation of a Constant Effort Station," said the government official.
The Regional Secretary also stated that this is a "regular programme focused on catches during the breeding season on specific spots for the placement of tags and recording of biometric data. It will provide information and further knowledge on the ecology of the species, obtain data about the conservation status of the species and to update and complement the information contained in the 'Nesting Birds Atlas' as well as in the 'Vertebrates Red Book'."
Due to the work carried out by the Santa Maria Natural Park, "it is possible to conclude that forest areas represent the preferred habitat type for this subspecies, especially the native forest, and it is also possible to observe specimens in exotic and naturalised vegetation forests, as long as they contain native vegetation," stated the Regional Secretary.


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