Melissa Whitecross, Dr.

South Africa
BirdLife South Africa
BII expert in: Birds

I manage the Landscape Conservation Programme at BirdLife South Africa and have been watching, researching and conserving birds, in particular raptors and large terrestrial birds, for over a decade.

Absolutely, one of the species I work on, the Secretarybird, is a sentinel for open grassland and savannas, with the fragmentation and encroachment into these formally open spaces we have observed major declines (>70%) in the presence of these birds across the continent. This is reflected in other large raptors too which have also shown notable declines in recent decades. I was also involved in the uplisting of three of Africa’s raptors in 2020 including the Secretarybird, Martial Eagle and Bateleur.

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