Translocation of Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels establishes a breeding colony free of introduced predators on Kauai

Newells Shearwater Lindsay Young
Newell’s Shearwater, photograph by Lindsay Young

Lindsay Young (Pacific Rim Conservation, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA) and colleagues have published open access in the journal Frontiers in Conservation Science on creating a safe breeding space for two of Hawaii’s threatened procellariiform seabirds.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli; NESH) and Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis; HAPE) are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and have declined by 94% and 78%, respectively, since 1993 due to habitat degradation, predation by introduced predators, collisions with powerlines and light attraction. Given the challenges in protecting nesting birds in their rugged montane habitats, it has long been desirable to create populations of both species in more accessible locations that offer a higher level of protection. We translocated 110 HAPE and 86 NESH chicks over a six-year period from 2015-2020 to a 2.5-ha predator-free enclosure on Kaua`i, Hawai`i. In addition to invasive plant removal and native plant out-planting, we installed 76 artificial burrows to provide nesting sites. Chicks were tube fed 1-20% of their body weight daily in the form of a slurry comprised of squid, fish, salmon oil, and Pedialyte. All NESH and 96% (N=106) of HAPE survived to fledging. Eight HAPE, including three breeding pairs, and one NESH have returned as adults to the translocation site and HAPE have bred at the site, resulting in the first predator-free breeding colony of this species.”

Nihoku fence
The predator-proof fence erected as part of the Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project on the island of Kauai to create a safe breeding space for translocated Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels


Young, L.C., Kohley, C.R., VanderWerf, E.A., Fowlke, L., Casillas, D., Dalton, M., Knight, M., Pesque, A.,  Dittmar, E.M., Raine, A,F. & Vynne, M. 2023. Successful translocation of Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels to create a new, predator free breeding colony. Frontiers in Conservation Science 4.

06 June 2023

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.

About ACAP

ACAP Secretariat

119 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000

Tel: +61 3 6165 6674