The Alaotra Grebe, aka Rusty Grebe has gone extinct says the conservation group Birdlife International. Leon Bennun, BirdLife International’s Director of Science, Policy and Information said, “No hope now remains for this species. It is another example of how human actions can have unforeseen consequences,”
Wetlands in Madascar were the habitat of the endemic grebe. According to the IUCN Red list the bird was last sighted in 1985. In 2009 they considered the bird likely to be extinct. The extinction was due to several factors. First an alien species of carnivorous fish was introduced to lakes in its habitat. (Why did this happen?) Secondly, fisherman left nets out in their habitats and the birds got stuck and drowned in them. Lastly, there was interbreeding between the now extinct bird and similar grebes.
So we see it doesn’t take much in terms of the aligning of simple scenarios to produce an intersection of extinction for one species. This particular species lived nowhere else. Wikipedia states the type of fish that was introduced to the Madagascar lakes is the Snakehead Murrel. The Times Online also reported it was that fish.
It isn’t clear how the non-native fish got into those waters, but two sources say the fish is considered enjoyable to eat by people in some south Asian cultures. (The US Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t allow the importing of live snakeheads to the United States.)
Sadly, we have yet another example of the devastating consequences resulting from the introduction of non-native species.