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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Protecting shearwaters at night: BirdLife Malta releases Guidelines for Ecologically Responsible Lighting

Crymbie cover

The Milky Way as observed from Dwejra, Gozo, Malta, cover photograph by Joseph Caruana

“With the aim of protecting Malta’s nocturnal environment for seabirds and beyond, BirdLife Malta’s LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project – which this year comes to an end – has released a set of guidelines for ecologically responsible lighting in the Maltese Islands.

These guidelines for best practices in lighting are now being shared with the relevant stakeholders as part of the EU LIFE-funded project which has over the past five years worked to secure the Maltese Islands for the Yelkouan Shearwater [Puffinus yelkouan] (Garnija), a small seabird species that can only be found in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean region. The Maltese Islands are home to approximately 10% of the world population of this shearwater species, therefore their protection is important on the global scale, especially with the population declines Yelkouan Shearwaters have been facing over the last decades.”

Yelkouan Shearwater Matthew Borg Cardona

Yelkouan Shearwater, photograph by Matthew Borg Cardona

Scopolis lights Malta

Undirected shore-line lights in Malta shine brightly

Read the whole media release by BirdLife Malta here.

Reference:

Crymble, J. [2020].  Guidelines for Ecologically Responsible Lighting.  Protecting the Nocturnal Environment of the Maltese Islands for Seabirds and Beyond.  BirdLife Malta LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija Project39 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 August 2020

BirdLife South Africa makes a call for a Mouse-Free Marion Project Manager

Grey headed Albatross mouse wound Fitztitute 

A Grey-headed Albatross chick ‘scalped’ by mice on Marion Island, photograph courtesy of the FitzPatrick Institute

South Africa’s sub-Antarctic Marion Island is overrun by introduced House Mice Mus musculus, which in the last decade have taken to attacking and killing the island’s albatrosses and petrels, notably chicks of the globally threatened Grey-headed Thalassarche chrysostoma and Wandering Diomedea exulans Albatrosses (click here for previous ACAP Latest News posts on Marion’s mice).

To address the problem a call has now been made for Expressions of Interest for “a highly qualified, dedicated and dynamic” Mouse-Free Marion Project Manager.  The project is a joint endeavour between South African Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and the environmental NGO BirdLife South Africa, as described on the “Mouse Free Marion” website.

The scope of the project manager’s work will include reviewing and refining the Mouse-Free Marion Project and its operational plans and assisting with the appointment of the Operations Manager and the eradication team.  Qualifying requirements for the position include a minimum of 10 years’ experience in project/business management at a senior level.  Project management experience in island-based invasive mammal eradication will be an additional advantage.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant travel restrictions has led to pauses in eradication projects on New Zealand’s Auckland Island, United Kingdom’s Gough Island and the USA’s Midway Atoll, all supporting large populations of ACAP-listed species.  Perhaps these three islands, along with Marion, can still all be declared free of introduced mammals by the end of the decade.

The Project Manager will be based in Cape Town, South Africa.  The initial contract period will be for 2.5 – 3 years, with a six-month probation period based on initial progress achieved. The position is being advertised internationally and is not restricted to South African citizens/permanent residents.   Assumption of contract would be by 1 January 2021; closing date for applications: 3 September 2020. The eradication exercise is currently proposed to be undertaken in the winter of 2023.

Apply to Isabel Human (isabel.human@birdlife.org.za) with the subject title MOUSE-FREE MARION PROJECT MANAGER.  For further information, contact Alistair McInnes (alistair.mcinnes@birdlife.org.za).  Read more details here.

With thanks to Carol Jacobs, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries & Nini van der Merwe, BirdLife South Africa for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 07 August 2022

World Albatross Day’s Colouring-in Competition results. Part Two: the Runners Up

Ellison Gunn 12 

Earlier this year ACAP collaborated with Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) to produce a series of posters and individual artworks depicting the 22 species of the world’s albatrosses to mark and help support the inaugural World Albatross Day (‘WAD2020’) on 19 June.  ABUN artists were also requested to produce line drawings, suitable to be coloured in by children (or by young-at-heart adults).  One drawing for each species was selected for the competition and posted to this website, along with the photograph that inspired it (click here).  Artistic license was encouraged, for example think COVID-19 rainbow albatrosses.

The 124 entries (view them in all in a Facebook album) received by the deadline were assigned to five age classes, with a range from three to eighteen plus years.  Four judges of international standing (Dana Hargrove, Kitty Harvill, Caren Loebel-Fried and Laurie Smaglick Johnson) kindly agreed to choose winners and two runners-up for each of four of the five age categories (because of the small number of entries only the winner was chosen for the adult category).  Their choices were assigned points which were then pooled to obtain the final results.

The age-category winners have already been posted here.  Now is the time to feature the runners up in the age categories from three to seventeen years of age.  Congratulations to them all!

 3-5-Year Category

 Mount Nelson Primary Prep 2

Equal 2nd: Mount Nelson Primary School Prep GT class #2*

 Mount Nelson Primary Prep 9 PGT

Equal 2nd: Mount Nelson Primary School Prep GT class #9*

6-8-Year Category

 Quentin Gose 8

2nd: Quentin Gose

Valentina Calderón Madriaga 6 

3rd: Valentina Calderon

 9-11-Year Category

Mateo Kermarrec Manos No. 1 11 annegalou27yahoo.fr 

Equal 3rd: Mateo Vergara

 Gabriel Muñoz 9 mariam.latofskiislas.org.mx

Equal 3rd: Gabriel Muñoz

12-17-Year Category

 Maggie Rennick 13 1 rennick5att.net

2nd: Maggie Rennick

 Ellison Gunn 12

Equal 3rd: Ellison Gunn

Erin Blankenheim Villarreal 13 

Equal 3rd: Erin Blankenheim Villarreal

With grateful thanks to all the entrants for their colourful entries, the four judges for their choices, the ABUN artists and the photographers who contributed their works and Verónica López for encouraging entries from Latin American countries.

*Closure of the Mount Nelson Primary School in Hobart, Tasmania due to COVID-19 has meant that the names of these two runners up in the 3-5 year category are not available.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 05 August 2020,m updated 11 August 2020

Job Vacancy: Head of BirdLife International Marine Programme

Bird scaring lines Amanda Gladics 

A bird-scaring line keeps seabirds at bay, photograph by Amanda Gladics

The UK’s Royal Society for Bird Protection (RSPB) hosts the BirdLife International Marine Programme, with a particular emphasis on stopping albatross declines through implementing practical solutions to reduce bycatch in longline and trawl fisheries and protecting the most important sites for seabirds globally.

“We are looking for a visionary and inspiring marine specialist to head up the Birdlife International Marine Programme, leading the RSPB Global Seas programme, overseeing the Marine Programme Regional Co-ordinators in BirdLife International Partners across the world and co-ordinating the marine policy and scientific work at the BirdLife International Secretariat.

The overall aims of the Marine Programme are to improve the conservation status of the world's seabirds through the adoption of bycatch mitigation measures in longline and trawl fisheries, to identify bycatch mitigation measures in gillnet fisheries; and to delineate and protect marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas.  The successful candidate will have extensive experience of seabirds and marine issues and excellent skills in facilitation and the development and co-ordination of a dispersed team."

Closing date: 12 August 2020; applications to Irene Sabiniarz at irene.sabiniarz@rspb.org.uk.

Read more here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 August 2020

“Petey the Albatross” - Runner up in the Great Albicake Bake Off reveals a budding baker

Joe Naylor with cake 

Joe Naylor with his winning cake

A total of 72 entries was received for the Great Albicake Bake Off in aid of celebrating World Albatross Day in June.  Winners and Runners up from Facebook likes and from the three judges have now been posted to ACAP Latest News - but there is one special cake still to feature.

Joe Naylor, who lives in Chepstow on the UK's Welsh border, was chosen by the judges as an equal third place in the Morphological Accuracy category, along with two other entrants.  What is special about his cake is that Joe is 10 years old and his entry was competing with those of 71 other cakes, all but one or two made by adults.

 Joe Naylor

“Petey the Albatross”

Images of Joe’s cake were submitted by his mother Alexia Naylor who also sent the following from her son: “Petey is a Black-browed Albatross who lives in Chile with his mate Mollie and their chick Lilly.  Lilly is a newly hatched albatross, so she is still very fluffy.  Mice have been eating the chicks whilst the adults are doing other things, like fishing and preening.  My cake is when the mice are gone and the albatross make a comeback.  First I made one of my classic sponges and added some turquoise buttercream around the edges.  Next I rolled out a circle of blue icing and put it to the side whilst I made the albatross. After I had made the albatross I put it all on the cake and cut out some albatross silhouettes and stuck them on the cake.”

Alexia writes that her son bakes his sponge cakes entirely independently.  She helped Joe research albatrosses online and design the cake on Powerpoint and his his grandmother, Carolyn Naylor gave guidance on making icing and cutting out shapes.

 Joe Naylor 3

Petey, Mollie and Lilly by Emily Naylor

Joe’s sister Emily (aged seven) drew the albatross family, Petey, Mollie and Lilly.  Joe and Emily have been home-schooled since March due to COVID-19  and cooking has been part of their life-skills learning.  Joe has now moved onto baking bread with Zoom lessons from his school teacher.

Joe Naylor 2 

Joe’s cake “was very tasty!”

Joe’s Uncle Adam won no less than two of the five thematic categories and was overall co-winner as decided by the judges and received a third place by Facebook likes for his “Gough in Miniature” cake.  He is a Veterinary Surgeon with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and a team member of the Gough Island Restoration Programme, quarantining with Joe’s family after the COVID-19-induced cancellation of this year’s effort to eradicate the island’s mice (and telling his nephew all about the island's albatrosses).  Adam says Joe’s mother is also an excellent baker.  It seems making award-winning cakes runs deep in the extended Naylor family!

With thanks to Adam Naylor and Alexia Naylor.  The photo of Joe with his cake is posted with parental permission.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 03 August 2020