Given that this is clearly a very restricted range species and extremely hard to find, plus your own estimates of the small population, it seems odd to be downgrading the listing simply because you don’t have – and are not going to get- the data that covers your evidently seemingly rigorous criteria. I would adopt a precautionary principle here and leave it unchanged
The three known historical location of Slender-billed Flufftail still unchanged without interesting new record in the last twenty years by ornithologist or birdwatcher visiting Madagascar. However, the degree in habitat destruction by human activity for rice cultivation conversion increase annually. It is hard to believe that the past population estimate situation was not terribly reduced in term of surviving living population of SF. In My Opinion It is time to move forward and propose the Critical Endangered as alarming conservation statute appropriate to the actual situation of SbF.
At the moment, there still an urgent need to undertake national ecological survey in chance to identify new population of this species in all remote eastern Malagasy wetland, and consequently propose conservation measure in favour of new identifying occurrence site and include them into the protected area network and to preserve the species to the extension risk in near future.
I agree that the habitat where SBF lives is highly fragmented and regularly under threat for conversion to rice. There is little up to date information about the total extent of the habitat of the species (sedge-rich mid-altitude marshes) and it is clearly capable of persisting in somewhat degraded or disturbed habitat (for instance at Ranomafana). It has been found recently in many of the places where sufficient effort has been put in to look for it (Anjozorobe, at least 5 sites around Bemanevika) and the distribution map above essentially corresponds to where visitors are received by guides who know how to find the species. There are many small wetlands of this kind scattered widely over a large part of eastern Madagascar, many of which are fairly remote from human presence (for instance north of Zahamena or between Anosibe an’Ala and Ranomafana). So I agree that EN is not an appropriate threat rating for the species. However wetlands of this kind have declined significantly since the 1950s (Kull 2012) and this process is likely to continue. I think the population is likely to be many more that 250 but may not be much more than 1000. My suggestion is therefore that VU is a more appropriate category than NT.
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. We greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting. The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.
Thank you once again,
BirdLife Red List Team
Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2021 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.
There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.
The final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
Recommended categorisations to be put forward to IUCN
Based on available information, our proposal for the 2021 Red List is to pend the decision on this species and keep the discussion open until 2022, while leaving the current Red List category unchanged in the 2021 update.
Many thanks for everyone who contributed to the 2021 GTB Forum process. Final 2021 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.
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