Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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Introduced cats, rats, pigs and owls are killing Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters

kNewells cat kill 

A Hawaiian Petrel chick is removed from its burrow by a feral cat.  Game camera photograph courtesy of the Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project

André Raine (Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, Kauai, Hawaii, USA) and colleagues have published in the Journal of Wildlife Management on the depredations of Newell's Shearwaters Puffinus newelli and Hawaiian Petrels Pterodroma sandwichensis by introduced predators on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Introduced predators are one of the greatest threats facing seabirds worldwide.  We investigated the effects of multiple introduced predators on 2 endangered seabirds, the Newell's shearwater (Puffinus newelli) and the Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), on the island of Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, USA.  Between 2011 and 2017, we recorded 309 depredations of which 35.6% were by feral cats, 50.2% by black rats (Rattus rattus), 10.4% by pigs (Sus scrofa; feral pigs), and 3.9% by barn owls (Tyto alba).  Cats were the most destructive of the predators because they killed more breeding adults than chicks, which had repercussions on breeding probability in following years.  Cats and rats were also the most prevalent of all the predators, depredating birds at all of the sites under consideration regardless of how remote or inaccessible.  We also considered the effectiveness of predator control over the study period. Reproductive success at all sites increased once predator control operations were in place and depredations by all species except barn owls decreased.  Furthermore, we modeled population trajectories for all sites with and without predator control.  Without predator control, population trajectories at all sites declined rapidly over 50 years. With predator control operations in place, populations at all sites increased; thus, controlling introduced predators at endangered seabird colonies is important for their management.”

Read a popular account of the publication.

With thanks to André Raine.

Reference:

Raine, A.F., Driskill, S., Vynne. M., Harvey, D. & Pias, K. 2020.  Managing the effects of introduced predators on Hawaiian endangered seabirds.  Journal of Wildlife Management 84: 425-435. doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21824.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 April 2020

‘Flight of the Albatross’. A music video by Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature on behalf of World Albatross Day, 19 June 2020

ACCESS THE VIDEO HERE

 

 ABUN 30

ACAP is particularly pleased to have been able to collaborate with Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) on its 30th Project for the duration of January and February this year.  The project’s task was to paint and draw the world’s 22 species of albatrosses that could then be used as online images to help raise awareness of the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June.  Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature was founded by Brazilian-based Kitty Harvill and Christoph Hrdina in 2016.  ABUN is a collection of nature and wildlife artists, serving the conservation community with their images for use in promoting awareness.  Kitty writes to ACAP Latest News: “We range from beginners and hobby artists, children and adults to seasoned professionals, joined together by our love of nature and desire to be of service to that cause, the process of creating art and the respect for all artistic expressions produced in the group.”

ABUN text logoA total of 58 photographers made several hundred photographs featuring all 22 species available to ABUN (directly or via ACAP) that artists could then use as inspiration for their artworks.  By the end of the two months of the project 77 artists produced no less than 324 paintings and drawings for ACAP, several artists accepting the challenge of painting all 22 species.  The artists have given the right to ACAP to use images of their paintings and drawings posted to ABUN’s Facebook page for educational and promoting purposes.  Many of them have sent high-resolution versions of their works directly to ACAP Latest News for this purpose.  So far seven of these high-resolution artworks have been used to create ‘WAD2020’ posters (click here); others are being used to illustrate daily posts to ACAP Latest News, replacing and complementing hitherto-used photographs.

Kitty Harvill1

 

 

Kitty Harvill has now used the artworks and photographs to create a nine-and-a-half-minute video for World Albatross Day with a musical score by USA-based musician John Nicolosi entitled ‘Flight of the Albatross’.  The music video will help ACAP draw attention to the conservation crisis that continues to be faced by albatrosses.  Listen, watch and enjoy.

With especial thanks to Kitty Harvill and Christoph Hrdina, Founders, Artists & Biologists Unite for Nature and John Nicolosi, musician, as well as to the 77 wildlife artists and 58 photographers who contributed their works towards the making of the music video.  With the whole world facing COVID-19, ACAP wishes all the contributors to the video the best of health and to stay safe in this difficult time.  Life will go on.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 April 2020

UPDATE. The ACAP Advisory Committee will meet for the 12th time in Ecuador from the end of August

UPDATE:  The ACAP Secretariat and Advisory Committee Chair are consulting with ACAP Parties about the way forward as regards AC12 in relation to COVID-19.  At this stage, we are considering deferring the Advisory Committee and associated Working Group meetings.

AlbatrossWaved084

Ecuador's endemic Waved Albatross Phoebastria irrorata is Critically Endangered, photograph by Laurie Smaglick Johnson

 The Twelfth Meeting of ACAP’s Advisory Committee (AC12) will be held from Monday 31 August to Friday 4 September 2020, in the Mantahost Hotel, Manta, Ecuador.  Meetings of the Seabird Bycatch Working Group and the Population and Conservation Status Working Group will precede AC12 at the same venue: SBWG10 from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 August, and PaCSWG6 from Thursday 27 to Friday 28 August.  As decided by AC11, a joint SBWG10/PACSWG6 will be held on the morning of Thursday 27 August to discuss cross-cutting issues.  A Heads of Delegation meeting will be convened on Sunday 30 August in the late afternoon/evening.

Information on deadlines for submission and distribution of meeting documents are given in Circular 1, available in ACAP’s three official languages of English, French and Spanish.  Information is also given in the circular on applications for observer status by international and non-international bodies.

A block booking for delegates has been made at the Mantahost Hotel; more details in the first circular.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 20 January 2020, updated 01 April 2020

Identifying marine ‘hotspots’ around the Tristan da Cunha-Gough islands by tracking ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels

Tristan Albatross Michelle Risi Virginia Potter Vredeveld 

Tristan Albatross pair on Gough Island, artwork by Virginia Potter Vredeveld from a photograph by Michelle Risi 

Susana Requena (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, UK) and colleagues have published in the journal Animal Conservation on identifying marine areas used by seabird and seal predators in the South Atlantic.  Five ACAP-listed seabirds were tracked: Atlantic Yellow-nosed Thalassarche chlororhynchos, Sooty Phoebetria fusca and Tristan Diomedea dabbenena Albatrosses and Grey Procellaria cinerea and Spectacled P. conspicillata Petrels.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Remote oceanic islands harbour unique biodiversity, especially of species that rely on the marine trophic resources around their breeding islands.  Identifying marine areas used by such species is essential to manage and limit processes that threaten these species.  The Tristan da Cunha territory in the South Atlantic Ocean hosts several endemic and globally threatened seabirds, and pinnipeds; how they use the waters surrounding the islands must be considered when planning commercial activities.  To inform marine management in the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), we identified statistically significant areas of concentrated activity by collating animal tracking data from nine seabirds and one marine mammal.  We first calculated the time that breeding adults of the tracked species spent in 10 × 10 km cells within the EEZ, for each of four seasons to account for temporal variability in space use.  By applying a spatial aggregation statistic over these grids for each season, we detected areas that are used more than expected by chance.  Most of the activity hotspots were either within 100 km of breeding colonies or were associated with seamounts, being spatially constant across several seasons.  Our simple and effective approach highlights important areas for pelagic biodiversity that will benefit conservation planning and marine management strategies.”

With thanks to Janine Dunlop, Niven Librarian, FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town.

Reference:

Requena, S., Oppel, S., Bond, A.L., Hall, A., Cleeland, J., Crawford, R.J.M., Davies, D., Dilley, B.J., Makhado, A., Ratcliffe, N., Reid, T.A., Ronconi, R.A., Schofield, A., Steinfurth, A., Wege, M., Bester, M.[N.] & Ryan, P.G. 2020.  Marine hotspots of activity inform protection of a threatened community of pelagic species in a large oceanic jurisdiction.  Animal Conservation doi.org/10.1111/acv.12572.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 01 April 2020

Japan takes a World Albatross Day banner to the Short-tailed Albatross translocation site on Mukojima

Mukojima with Black footed chick 

Taiki Terajima (left) and Teru Yuta pose with their ‘WAD2020’ banner behind a Black-footed Albatross chick on Mukojima

Teru Yuta, a Researcher in the Division of Avian Conservation of Japan’s Yamashina Institute for Ornithology leads on the conservation and monitoring of an incipient colony of globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus on Mukojima in the Ogasawara Islands.  Over five years from 2008 to 2012 70 Short-tailed Albatross chicks were translocated from Torishima – the species’ main breeding site - to Mukojima, where they were hand fed until 69 of them fledged.  The aim was to create a new colony on an island not at risk to volcanic activity, as is Torishima (click here).

Teru has written to ACAP Latest News summarizing Short-tailed Albatross activity on Mukojima over the last decade:

“From 2011 some of the translocated Short-tailed Albatrosses started to come back to Mukojima.  One pair, of which the male was translocated, started to breed in 2013 but failed over three years.   From 2016 to 2020, this pair bred successfully and fledged a chick for five years in a row.  From 2019 a bird that fledged in 2016 was observed back on Mukojima.  A second pair has laid eggs in the last three years (2018-2020), but they have not hatched.  The translocated individuals are seen more on Torishima.  There are some new birds coming from Torishima, but more seen on Mukojima now are from Senkaku Islands.”

Teru continues to express cautious optimism of a new colony becoming established: “Although the number of the translocated birds seen back on Mukojima has been decreasing in the last few years, and there has been only one pair successfully breeding, the second generation is starting to come back, and it seems that it is very slowly, step by step, getting closer to establishing a new colony.  I am hoping for the second-generation individuals to start breeding soon”.  A hope shared by ACAP Latest News!

Read more of the translocation project here.

While conducting field work at the island’s translocation site Teru and colleagues were able to display and photograph a banner in support of this year’s inaugural World Albatross Day (“WAD2020’) with chicks of the three Northern Pacific albatrosses that breed on Mukojima.  This adds the Short-tailed as a new species of albatross photographed with a banner to those already featured in ACAP Latest News.

Mukojima with decoys 

Taiki Terajima (left) and Teru Yuta pose with their ‘WAD2020’ behind a pair of Short-tailed Albatross decoys on Mukojima ...

Mukojima with Laysan chick

... with a Laysan Albatross chick ...

Photographs by Toshio Minami

Mukojima with Short tailed chick

... and with a Short-tailed Albatross chick.

With thanks to Teru Yuta, Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, Japan.

Reference:

Deguchi, T., Sato, F., Eda, M., Izumi, H., Suzuki , H., Suryan, R.M., Lance, E.W., Hasegawa, H. & Ozaki, K. 2016  Translocation and hand-rearing result in short-tailed albatrosses returning to breed in the Ogasawara Islands 80 years after extirpation.  Animal Conservation doi:10.1111/acv.12322.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 31 March 2020

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