Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Assessing aerial census techniques for counting Antipodean Albatrosses

Barry Baker and colleagues (Latitude 42 Environmental Consultants) have produced a report for the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s Conservation Services Programme that assesses aerial census methods to estimate the population size of ACAP-listed and Vulnerable Antipodean Albatrosses Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni on Adams Island in the Auckland Island Group.

The assessment is based on a literature review and on the analysis of exploratory aerial census work conducted at the Auckland Islands.  The report recommends use of helicopters and standard digital photography, followed by manual stitching and overlaying stitched images on satellite photos using GIS software.  Ground-truthing should be used to develop meaningful correction factors.  Lastly, aerial surveys should not be conducted until egg laying is complete.


Antipodean Albatross on Adams Island, photograph by Colin O'Donnell


Baker, G.B., Jensz, K. & Hamilton, S. 2015. Assessment of aerial census techniques to robustly estimate the total population size of Gibson’s albatross on Adams Island.  Report prepared for New Zealand Department of Conservation.  [Kettering]: Latitude 42 Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd.  18 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 20 September 2015