The first three seasons of translocating globally Vulnerable Hawaiian Petrels Pterodroma sandwichensis and the first season for globally Endangered Newell’s Shearwaters Puffinus newelli to a predator-proof enclosure at Nihoku within the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has resulted in 75 hand-reared birds fledging. Totals of 49 petrels and 26 shearwaters have fledged from the 76 moved; with a 100% success rate in the last two years.
“The birds were collected from colonies in Hono o Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and Upper Limahuli Preserve - located in Kaua‘i’s rugged, mountainous interior, some of the last main strongholds for these species on Kauai and a single Newell’s Shearwater was translocated from within an area outside of the predator-proof fence at the … refuge. Once carefully extracted from their burrows, the birds were flown by helicopter to the Princeville Airport where they were then driven to the Nihoku enclosure.
There the birds were placed into artificial burrows and, over the course of several weeks were fed and cared for by a dedicated team until they finally fledged.”
According to Pacific Rim Conservation, who looked after the birds “the success of the first three years of translocation is the result of many individuals and organizations working together to make a better future for these native birds. Each time one of these young birds fledges from Nihoku it brings us one step closer to our goal of recovery for these unique seabirds. It is comforting and exciting to know that when they return as adults they will have a safe place to raise young of their own.”
Newell's Shearwater chick, photograph by Andre Raine
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 January 2018