Automated cameras are watching Southern Giant Petrels in Antarctica this summer

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has this summer set up two automatic cameras on Hawker Island, an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (No. 167) in Princess Elizabeth Land, East Antarctica, to monitor the breeding activity of a colony of Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus.  Hawker Island is near the Australian base Davis.

This news is announced in an article by Ian Hay, the AAD's Senior Policy Officer (and Australia's National Contact person for ACAP) in the latest edition of the Australian Antarctic Magazine, which is available both on-line and in hard copy

Because the Hawker Island colony is small (probably less than 20 pairs; Patterson et al. 2008, Wienecke et al. 2009) it is thought that the two cameras will be able to capture all that goes on.  Success will be ascertained once the cameras are retrieved this April - after the breeding season is over.  The cameras have been installed as a test, because of the difficulty of regular access to the breeding site and also the desire to reduce human disturbance to this generally sensitive species.

If found to be successful, cameras may be established at two other giant petrel colonies on Frazier and Giganteus Islands in East Antarctica.

Click here for a related news item.


Hay, I. 2009. Cameras to spy on petrels. Australian Antarctic Magazine 17: 23.

Patterson, D.L., Woehler, E.J., Croxall, J.P., Cooper, J., Poncet, S., Peter, H.-U., Hunter, S. & Fraser, W.R. 2008.  Breeding distribution and population status of the Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli and Southern Giant Petrel M. giganteus. Marine Ornithology 36: 115-124.

Wienecke, B., Leaper, R., Hay, I. & van den Hoff, J. 2009.  Retrofitting historical data in population studies:  Southern Giant Petrels in the Australian Antarctic Territory.  Endangered Species Research 8: 157-164.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 8 January 2010

The Agreement on the
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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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