The Raso Lark, Alauda razae, is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Speciesä. With a tiny population confined to a small island in the Cape Verde Islands, the diminutive Raso Lark is perilously close to extinction.
As a result of the species’ restricted range, and the frequent periods of drought on Raso Island, its population never rises above around 250 individuals, and following several adverse years without rainfall it may decline to as low as ten breeding pairs. Human disturbance is also a significant threat, and the potential introduction of rats, cats and dogs could be devastating.
Not only is the Raso Lark a protected species under Cape Verde law, but Raso Island requires official authorisation to visit. A priority for the conservation of this species has been to raise awareness within the growing tourist industry to prevent unapproved visits, and in recent years local fishermen have become increasingly committed to helping preserve the island’s fragile ecosystem.