Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Critically Endangered Amsterdam Albatrosses not bothered by their island’s rats?

Jean-Baptiste Thiebot (Centre d'Études Biologiques de Chizé, Villiers-en-bois, France) and colleagues publish in the Japanese journal Ornithological Science on whether Black Rats Rattus rattus affect Amsterdam Albatrosses Diomedea amsterdamensis.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Introduced mammals may have deleterious effects on avifauna.  We investigated whether such species may be affecting the breeding success of the critically endangered Amsterdam Albatrosses Diomedea amsterdamensis on its remote breeding island.  Twelve camera-traps deployed near albatross nests during the chick brooding period in 2011 captured 25,000 pictures. Two of them showed Black Rats Rattus rattus, but without revealing evidence of any direct interaction between the two species.  Breeding success in 2011 was similar to that in previous years (60%).  Our survey suggests that introduced mammals may not currently represent a primary direct threat to this population, but they might amplify the risks of chick mortality in case of disease outbreaks.”

Amsterdam Albatross, photograph by Scott Shaffer

Reference:

Thiebot, J.-B., Barbraud, C., Delord, K., Marteau, C. & Weimerskirch, H. 2014.  Do introduced mammals chronically impact the breeding success of the world's rarest albatross?  Ornithological Science 13: 41-46.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 04 July 2014

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