Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Do fence me in. Translocating threatened Newell’s Shearwaters and Hawaiian Petrels

Newells Shearewater Lindsay Young

Newell's Shearwater, photograph by Lindsay Young

Lindsay Young (Pacific Rim Conservation, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA) and colleagues have published on hand rearing translocated chicks of the Critically Endangered Newell’s Shearwater Puffinus newelli and Endangered Hawaiian Petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis within a predator-proof fence on the Hawaiian island of Kauai as part of the Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project.

An extract from the chapter’s Introduction follows:

“The Critically Endangered Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus newelli) and the Endangered Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) are Hawaii’s only endemic seabirds.  Both species are rapidly declining due to collisions with power lines, light attraction, predation by invasive feral mammals and introduced Barn owls and habitat degradation by feral ungulates and invasive plants. Given the challenges in protecting nesting birds in their rugged, montane habitat, it has long been desirable to create protected populations of both species in more accessible locations. Translocation has been part of recovery planning since 1983 and translocation to predator exclusion fences was ranked as the highest priority action in the interagency five year Action Plan for Newell’s shearwater and Hawaiian petrel.”

The publication concludes:

The translocation aspect (removal of chicks from natal burrows and hand rearing until fledging) was highly successful, with fledging rates of 100% for Newell’s shearwater (N=67/67) and 98% for Hawaiian petrel (N=87/90).  It is still too early to determine ultimate success, which would entail recruitment of breeding individuals to the release site.”

Hawaiian Petrel

Hawaiian Petrel

Reference:

Young, L.C., Kohley, C.R., Dalton, M., Knight, M., VanderWerf, E.A., Fowlke, L., Dittmar, E., Raine, A.F., Vynne, M., Nevins, H., Hall, S. & Mitchell, M. 2021.  Translocation of Newell’s shearwaters and Hawaiian petrels to create new colonies on Kaua`i, Hawai`i, USA.  In: Soorae, P.S. (Ed.).  Global Conservation Translocation Perspectives: 2021. Case Studies from around the Globe.  Gland: IUCN SSC Conservation Translocation Specialist Group.  pp. 98-102.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 28 March 2021