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.

Contact the ACAP Information Officer if you wish to have your news featured.

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New Zealand’s Department of Conservation considers reports on albatross and petrel conservation efforts

The Conservation Services Programme (CSP) of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation works to reduce the impact of commercial fishing on protected species in New Zealand fisheries waters.  Direct commercial fishing impacts include species being caught, killed or injured in nets or on lines (bycatch).  Impacts may also be indirect through the modification of habitat or food availability.  The CSP monitors the effects of commercial fishing on protected species, studies species populations and looks at ways to limit bycatch (click here).

At regular meetings of the CSP’s Technical Working Group, reports on ongoing projects are considered, many of which deal with aspects of the biology and conservation of ACAP-listed albatrosses and petrels.  At its most recent meeting, held earlier this month, reports were considered for six species of albatrosses (Buller’s Thalassarche bulleri on The Snares, Campbell T. impavida and Grey-headed T. chrysostoma on Campbell Island, Gibson’s Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni on the Auckland Islands, Salvin’s T. salvini at sea and Southern Royal D. epomophora at the Aucklands).

Buller's Albatross at The Snares, photograph by Paul Sagar

Reports and presentations were also given on the Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus, on sea trials of the Kellian Line Setter and on characterising bottom longline operations in relation to risk factors for seabird capture.

Click here to access all the above reports.  Reports made to earlier meetings of the CSP on ACAP-listed species and on mitigation activities are also available on-line.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 June 2014

 

Fluent in English and Spanish? American NGO seeks a Seabird Programme Director

"The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the only conservation group whose sole mission is to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  The ABC accomplishes its mission through direct action and by engaging the people, groups, resources, and strategies needed to succeed.  It undertakes the full spectrum of bird conservation issues using advocacy and habitat conservation strategies.

ABC's Seabird Conservation Programme advances the organization's mission by:

1. developing solutions to threats facing the oceanic birds of the Americas;

2. informing and educating policy-makers and resource managers about seabird conservation needs and solutions; and

3. influencing government agencies and multilateral institutions regarding policy, resource allocation, and international conventions that affect seabirds."

A Laysan Albatross hatches its egg on Mexico's Clarion Island, photograph by Ross Wanless

"The ABC is seeking a dynamic conservationist with the drive and entrepreneurial spirit to develop programmes and advance policies that will make a difference for seabirds.  The Seabird Program Director is responsible for implementing an ambitious strategic plan for seabird conservation in the Americas; developing and implementing on-the-ground conservation projects to counter threats faced by the hemisphere's imperilled seabirds; developing capacity in partner organizations abroad; reaching out to US and foreign governments and helping to ensure adequate funding for the programme."

Contact Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. for more information, including deadline (7 July) and application details.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 June 2014

ACAP Breeding Site No. 72: Nakodojima Island, where Black-footed and now Short-tailed Albatrosses breed

Nakodojima Island (1.37 km²) is located in the middle of the Mukojima Island Group of Japan’s Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands.  It lies five kilometres south of Mukojima where the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus restoration project is situated.  It takes three hours by boat to reach Nakodojima, travelling 50 km north from inhabited Chichijima Island.  In the early 1900s, colonists started to farm and ranch on Nakodojima but since World War II the island has been uninhabited.

Short-tailed Albatross chick on Nakodojima Island

Photograph courtesy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Black-footed Albatrosses P. nigripes Albatrosses breed on Nakodojima, with 967 pairs recorded in 2006 according to the ACAP Data Portal.  On 7 May this year a Short-tailed Albatross P. albatrus chick close to fledging was found on the island.  The bird was colour banded and a feather sample taken for DNA analysis to aid in its positive identification (click here).

Around 30 years ago grazing by feral Domestic Goats Capra aegagrus hircus had seriously damaged the forest on the island resulting in serious erosion.  The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) successfully undertook a feral goat eradication programme that removed 417 animals on Nakodojima from 1997 to 1999, and has managed a forest restoration programme since then. The Black Rat Rattus rattus is now the last remaining introduced mammal on the island

Since 1978 the TMG has monitored the status of Black-footed Albatrosses breeding within the Mukojima Island Group.  In the 2004 breeding season the Institute of Boninology (NPO) joined the monitoring programme and started plastic colour banding birds for population analysis.  Following eradication of feral goats throughout the Mukojima Island Group the numbers of Black footed Albatrosses have increased gradually in all colonies, and their breeding area is expanding.  In May 2014 1040 Black footed and 12 Laysan P. immutabilis Albatross chicks were banded in the Mukojima Island Group.

The Ogasawara Islands were designated as a World Heritage Natural Site in June 2011, with Nakodojima Island being treated as its most restricted area.

A management plan and an action plan for protection and management of property are being implemented by the Ministry of the Environment (Ogasawara National Park, Ogasawara Archipelago National Wildlife Protection Area), Forestry Agency (Ogasawara Islands Forest Ecosystem Reserve), Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Ogasawara Village with the local community’s participation facilitated through a Regional Liaison Committee.

On Nakodojima commercial developments and usage are prohibited and recreational activities are not allowed.  Scientists and forest restoration programme managers visit under permit.  In order to avoid disturbance to the albatrosses, the forest restoration programme is limited to outside the albatross breeding season.

To improve conservation measures for the Short-tailed Albatross chick found on Nakodojima 2014, a local conference on albatrosses that was organized by local government agencies, NPO, fisheries, tourist group and scientists in 2008, will re-start to discuss implementing a ban of entering the STAL’s breeding site in the coming season.

With thanks to Kazuo Horikoshi, Institute of Boninology and Yoshinori Tamaki, Ogasawara Islands Branch Office, Tokyo Metropolitan Government for information.

Selected Literature:

Government of Japan 2010.  Nomination of the Ogasawara Islands for Inscription on the World Heritage List.  [Tokyo]: Government of Japan.  228 pp.

Ministry of the Environment 2009.  Management Plan for the Ogasawara Islands World Natural Heritage Nominated Site (Draft).  Tokyo: Ministry of the Environment.  31 pp. [in Japanese].

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 June 2014

Heinroth’s Shearwater more than one species?

Writing in the New Zealand journal Notornis Peter Harrison reports on the little-known Heinroth’s Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi of the Solomn Islands.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“This paper reports recent at-sea sightings of the little-known Heinroth’s shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi) within the Solomon Islands.  Feeding habits are described and compared to those of black noddy (Anous minutus).  Observations suggest that Heinroth’s shearwater occurs in dark, intermediate and pale forms, and may be better considered as a polymorphic species.”

Reference:

Harrison, P. 2014.  At-sea observations of Heinroth’s shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi). Notornis 61: 97-102.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 June 1014

Going walk about: translocated Hutton’s Shearwater chicks visit each other’s nest boxes

Lindsay Rowe (Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust) writes in the New Zealand journal Notornis on movements of translocated pre-fledgling Hutton’s Shearwater Puffinus huttoni.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Over 100 Hutton’s shearwater (Puffinus huttoni) nestlings were translocated to the Te Rae o Atiu colony on the Kaikoura Peninsula in February and March 2013.  Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags were implanted in all translocated nestlings and their movements were monitored using both visual observations and recording devices at nest-box entrances. Once nest-box entrances were unblocked about 5 days after birds were translocated, 29 nestlings were resighted 81 times outside their home nest-boxes either in the open (14 nestlings) and/or other nest-boxes (29 nestlings).  From the PIT tag records, 37 birds were observed visiting at least 49 nest-boxes on 109 occasions.  The most mobile bird made 15 visits to 12 other nest-boxes over 9 nights; another bird visited 6 boxes in one night; and 1 box had 3 visitors in a single night.  Nestlings moved within the colony in the period between 1 and 16 nights before fledging, with an average of 8 nights with movement before fledging.  The PIT tag readers also showed that the use of pins outside nest-box entrances to determine movements can be misleading as pins were moved up to 13 nights before the nest-box occupant emerged, the pins being moved either by visitors to the nest-boxes or by nestlings wandering past the entrance.”

Hutton's Shearwater, photograph by the Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust

Reference:

Rowe, L. 2014.  Post-translocation movements of pre-fledging Hutton’s shearwaters (Puffinus huttoni) within a newly established colony (Te Rae o Atiu) on the Kaikoura Peninsula.  Notornis 61: 84-90.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 14 October 2014

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