The BirdLife national partner in Spain is known as SEO/BirdLife. Following an approach by ACAP Latest News the environmental NGO has offered its support to this year’s inaugural World Albatross Day (‘WAD2020’) on 19 June, joining seven other BirdLife partners around the world.
nFounded in 1954 and currently with over 16 000 members and a staff of over 80, SEO/BirdLife works towards the conservation of birds and biodiversity by conducting scientific studies, disseminating knowledge, engaging in policy, performing activities related to international cooperation and developing environmental programmes with volunteers. Seabirds and the marine environment are among the priorities of the organization (click here).
Pep holds a Balearic Shearwater
Pep Arcos, head of SEO’s Marine Programme, has written to ACAP Latest News: “Albatrosses are iconic birds that remind us in Spain of the far distant and mysterious region of the Southern Ocean. However, some of their cousins do occur in our own waters, such as the endemic and Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus, listed as an ACAP species following a proposal from Spain that was supported by SEO/BirdLife. It is among SEO/BirdLife’s priorities to help save these birds from extinction, and World Albatross Day is an ideal way of recalling all of them, and to let people know about their value and the threats they face”.
“Los albatros son aves icónicas que, a los que vivimos en España, nos hacen pensar en las remotas y misteriosas aguas de los mares del sur. Pero nuestras aguas también acogen a algunos de su ‘primos’, como la críticamente amenazada pardela balear Puffinus mauretanicus, que entró en la lista de especies prioritarias de ACAP a propuesta de España y con apoyo de SEO/BirdLife. Salvar de la extinción a todas estas aves es una de las prioridades de SEO/BirdLife, y el Día Mundial de los Albatros nos brinda la oportunidad de darles visibilidad ante el gran público, y concienciarle acerca de sus amenazas.”
SEO/BirdLife also has a working group on seabirds, the Grupo Ibérico de Aves Marinas (Iberian Marine Bird Group, GIAM), formed by amateurs and professionals interested in seabirds and their habitats, that engage in coordinated actions of monitoring and conservation, in liaison with the Marine Programme and other areas of the organization. GIAM conducts campaigns focused on seabirds at different times depending on the threats and needs that arise.
SEO/BirdLife Chief Executive Officer, Asunción Ruiz, coordinated SEO’s work on a EU-funded LIFE project devoted to the Balearic Shearwater (1998-2001), and has written a book on the species (Ruiz & Martí 2004 La pardela balear). She writes to ACAP Latest News:
“Los albatros son verdaderas joyas del medio marino, y desde SEO/BirdLife no dudamos en sumarnos a apoyar un Día Mundial para estas emblemáticas aves. Un día que también dará visibilidad a nuestro ‘albatros particular’, la pardela balear, un diamante en bruto de nuestras aguas por cuya conservación trabajamos desde hace ya muchos años, un tesoro marino que no podemos permitir que vuele hacia la extinción”.
"Albatrossess are true jewels of the marine environment, and we at SEO/BirdLife did not hesitate to join a World Day initiative for these iconic birds; I hope this will also bring visibility to a rough diamond of our own seas, our ‘particular albatross’, the Balearic shearwater, a species that has been on the focus of our conservation work for years, a marine treasure that we cannot let fly towards extinction.”
Spain is one of the first of the 13 ACAP Parties, following its ratification of the Agreement in August 2003. It hosted the Fifth Session of the Meeting of the Parties (MoP5) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in May 2015 when Balearic Shearwater was listed in the Agreement. SEO/BirdLife’s ‘Pep’ Arcos attended the meeting as an observer, representing BirdLife International. He is also a member of ACAP’s Population and Conservation Status Working Group (PaCSWG) and has attended several meetings of this group.
Balearic Shearwater at sea, photograph by Pep Arcos
Read of support for WAD2020 received from BirdLife national partners in Australia, France, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom (all countries that are Parties to ACAP), from a BirdLife regional partner, Falklands Conservation, as well as from the Chief Executive of BirdLife International, Patricia Zurita.
Click here to read SEO/BirdLife's own post in Spanish on World Albatross Day.
With thanks to Pep Arcos. ACAP Latest News extends its best wishes to its friends in Spain and to all its inhabitants in a difficult time.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 30 March 2020