BIRD & ANIMAL
The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is native to North America. The species illustrates the serious decline of many grassland birds, with its numbers being reduced by 79% since 1966. Many reasons have been cited as potentially contributing to the decline of the species, including loss of habitat, pesticides, mortality associated with roads, adverse weather conditions and competition for resources. Ontario supports a small migratory population of Loggerhead Shrike – less than 30 pairs have bred in the province annually over the past decade. While small, it is a stronghold for a unique subspecies in eastern North America.
African Lion Safari became a partner in conservation efforts in 2008. The park is one of four conservation breeding centers, coordinated by Wildlife Preservation Canada, that breeds a small population of Loggerhead Shrike and releases young into the wild. The addition to the wild population with birds produced from African Lion Safari has kept the species from disappearing in Ontario. Participation in this conservation initiative has also helped African Lion Safari advance in the understanding of genomics, migration routes and wintering grounds, the impact of threats faced by wild birds such as West Nile Virus, courtship and pairing of birds, and develop methods to more accurately differentiate males from females.
Working collaboratively with federal, state and provincial government and non-government organizations, African Lion Safari is leading the development of an international collaborative conservation effort for the Loggerhead shrike.