Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from a news article originally posted by RFI.
A swallow and a crow species are likely to go extinct in Ethiopia due to climate change and conservationists may be left with no option but to relocate some of them in a move known as "assisted migration", according to a new study.
“Translocations beyond the historic range will be an increasingly important conservation option, in Africa and globally,” says Sarah Skikne, Switzer Fellow and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, who was not part of the Ethiopian study.
“Climate change means that suitable climates are moving out from under species, and land conversion such as agriculture will block their ability to follow their climates by shifting ranges.”
But Skikne, who co-authored a 2020 study analysing past global translocations of 176 bird species to work out its feasibility as a climate adaptation tool, told RFI she shared the conclusion ultimately reached by the authors of the Ethiopian study: that assisted migration for the white-tailed swallow and the Ethiopian bush-crow is probably unfeasible.
“My work shows that translocating birds over longer distances tends to decrease survival, so looking further afield may be risky,” Skikne says.
“This is an unfortunate example where there is no straightforward solution.”