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“5 are Left and Scientists are Racing: Can We Stop Mosquitoes from Driving This Bird Species to Extinction?

The Panay Scrubfowl is a rare and endangered bird which is found in the forested habitats of just one small island in the Philippines—the island of Panay. Previously, the population of these birds was fairly stable with several hundred individuals living in the wild. Unfortunately, in the last several years, this species has become increasingly endangered and their numbers are now believed to be at an all-time low of just five birds that are left in the wild. In a study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines, the scientists concluded that the main culprit behind this bird’s rapid decline is mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry a number of deadly diseases and parasites that can easily be spread among wildlife, the Panay Scrubfowl being particularly susceptible. Furthermore, because of their small population, these birds are unable to rebound or repopulate and unfortunately, without intervention, they are likely to go extinct. In spite of these dire circumstances, there may still be hope for this species. Scientists are in a race against time to save the Panay Scrubfowl and have begun to work on developing a vaccine that could help curb the spread of the diseases and parasites that mosquitoes carry. In addition to this, they are also researching ways to strengthen the remaining bird population with breeding programs. The future of this bird at this point is uncertain but these efforts could prove to make a great difference in the long run. The fate of the Panay Scrubfowl ultimately rests in the hands of those working to save them and with a little luck and determination, this species may yet have another chance at survival.

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