Editor's letter (May 21 issue)

More birds than ever before are threatened with extinction, according to the latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released last week. The total number of Critically Endangered bird species now stands at 192, two more than the last update in 2008 (see our news story of page 2 in this week's issue).
When I hear these kinds of statistics being quoted I generally feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. And then I wonder how this kind of news ties in with birdkeeping. Are our readers interested, or would they rather just read straightforward avicultural news and the latest club and show reports?
It’s a funny question – and one to which I haven’t quite received a satisfactory answer. I tend to think that birdkeeping can no longer be seen in isolation, and that to be taken seriously in today’s modern world, and not hidden away behind closed doors as it so often is, it must be seen to be actively helping its wild counterparts.  
And if birdkeepers love all birds, regardless of whether they’re captive or wild, surely they must also care about the conservation status of wild species? And isn’t there a case to be made about giving something back to the conservation of those species?
The Parrot Society UK is one body that seems to embrace this view, having donated many thousands of pounds over the years to worthwhile conservation projects, one of which has recently reaped a prestigous international award (see our news story on page 5 of this week's issue). But how many other clubs and societies donate money to causes that help save wild birds?
What do you think about this topic? Are you concerned about wild bird conservation, or do you feel that those sorts of stories have no place in our pages? I would love to open the debate and eagerly await your views...