Which finch species does the RFCG focus on?
Any finch that falls within the following categories will receive
RFCG attention. The examples given are a very small portion of the
population and of course species will be added as more and more
finches come under threat and resources of this voluntary self funded
specialist conservation group grow.
- Finches defined as threatened in any way by CITES, Red Data
Book for Birds, Birdlife International or any other relevant accredited
association. Examples include the green avadavat amandava formosa,
Shelley's crimsonwing cryptospiza shelleyi and black-headed
red siskin carduelis cucullata.
- Finches about which little is known in the wild. Examples include
locust finch ortygospiza locustella, black-lored waxbill
estrilda nigriloris and Cinderella waxbill estrilda
- Finches where there is a high demand for wild-caught birds to
supply the caged bird industry (particularly those that are difficult
to keep and breed). Examples include black-faced waxbill estrilda
erythronotos, red-faced crimsonwing cryptospiza reichenovii
and various species of parrotfinch erythrura.
Why not just put money and effort into projects in the field
rather than keep birds in cages?
Habitat issues are causing population reductions in many finch species.
That is a fact. It may get to the point where the available habitat
cannot support certain species, resulting in species extinction.
We need to have scientists in the field working on that issue, but
at the same time we need to make sure that we are able to rescue
finch populations that may have been pushed too close to the edge.
Apart from the contribution that captive populations make to scientific
knowledge of the birds, captive breeding programs allow us to supplement
depleted or even extinct wild populations if necessary. Examples
of successful bird breeding and release programs include the Pink
pigeon columba mayeri, echo parakeet psittacula eques,
both found on Mauritius the Indian ocean island and to a lesser
extent the gouldian finch chloebia gouldian in Australia.
In other words it is not a case of either field work or captive
breeding - both are needed to secure the future of Earth's finches.