A Balearic Shearwater breeding island is considered threatened by plans to use its lighthouse as a hotel

The island of Sa Conillera, in Spain’s Balearic Archipelago supports a breeding population of the ACAP-listed and Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus.

Sa Conillera, the lighthouse is just discernable above the cliffs on the right of the island

Plans to use the lighthouse as a hotel on the uninhabited 100-ha island have raised concern for the island’s shearwater population.  The Sociedad Española de Ornitología (SEO/BirdLife) and the Ibiza Preservation Fund have concluded in a recent discussion meeting that “the highest level of precaution is needed to avoid irrevocable damage to the island’s biodiversity” (click here).

"The meeting sends a strong message to the developers and to the Balearic government," stated Iván Ramírez, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Europe. "Although many in society see moneymaking opportunities in our last wild places, it is encouraging to see that the people of the Balearic archipelago recognise the area’s intrinsic value" (click here).

Balearic Shearwater, photograph from the Ibiza Preservation Fund

The website of the magazine Birdwatch reports: “[t]he island is a protected national marine area and is safeguarded by EU law for its seabirds through the Natura 2000 network.  But this is all about to change when the only building on the tiny island, the lighthouse, will be converted into an exclusive boutique hotel.  The development and running of touristic infrastructure will disrupt the breeding seabirds, many of which nest right next to the building."

“The hotel will also increase the risk of introducing predators such as cats and mice, which would prey on seabird eggs and chicks," said Pep Arcos, Marine Coordinator at SEO/BirdLife Spain, "with devastating impacts on the population of Balearic Shearwater, a species which is already on the brink of extinction."

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 June 2013

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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