Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Rat control is helping threatened Yelkouan Shearwaters in Malta

The globally Vulnerable Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan has been having a good breeding season in the Maltese Islands, home to approximately 10% of the global population of this seabird species (equating to around 2000 breeding pairs), according to a recent report by the LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija team of BirdLife Malta.

“The rat control [for both Brown Rattus norvegicus and Black R. rattus Rats] was perhaps most successful on St. Paul’s Islands which saw the biggest transformation with the removal of rats from the islet.  Six of the eight nests being monitored were successful in that the chicks made it to fledgling compared to the one out of the nine nests monitored in 2017.”

However, light pollution remains a problem for Yelkouan Shearwaters on Malta, although eight of nine fledglings affected that were found by the public were successfully released out to sea.

A Yelkouan Shearwater in its breeding crevice, photograph by Jérôme Legrand

Watch a video describing the last breeding season.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 14 September 2018