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Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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World Albatross Day collaboration with Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature extended

Short Tailed Albatross by Agnieszka Elliott from photo by Jonathan PlissnerShort-tailed Albatrosses "George and Geraldine enclosed in an ethereal protective boundary" by Agnieszka Elliott from a photo by Jonathan Plissner

Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) have extended the date for artwork submissions to Project #47 for this year’s World Albatross Day under the theme, “Marine Protected Areas – Safeguarding our Oceans”, until 21 April 2024.

This year marks ACAP’s fifth collaboration with ABUN for World Albatross Day and though contributions were a little slow to begin with, ABUN artists appear to have hit their stride with many more pieces submitted over the last couple of weeks. 

ABUNWAD2024 2Top row left to right: "They heard there was a party going on!" by Di Roberts; Short-tailed Albatross 'George' by Lois Davis from a photo by Jonathan Plissner; "All you need is love & Zumba" by Grace Innemee; 
Bottom row left to right: "Short-tailed Albatross pair George and Geraldine" by Lisa Riley; "Albatross colony near Dunedin" by Christina Rebekah Todd from a photo by her husband; "Short-tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine" by Shary Page Weckwerth after a photo by Jonathan Plissner 

23 stunning pieces from 16 artists have been submitted to the project (view them all in an ACAP Facebook album), with some artists having produced multiple works for the project. Ellyn Bousman Lentz and Sandhaya Verma have both produced two pieces for the project, whilst Flávia F. Barreto has created four.

 ABUNWAD2024 3Top row left to right by Flávia F. Barreto: "Buller´s albatrosses" from a photo by Dominique Filippi; "Short-tailed albatross and Torishima Island" from two ACAP photos; "Buller´s Albatross" from a photo by Laurie Smaglick Johnson
Bottom row left to right: "Short-Tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine on Midway" by Sandhaya Verma from a photo by Jonathan Plissner; "Short-Tailed Albatross chick at 16 weeks on Midway" by Sandhaya Verma from a photo by  Jonathan Plissner; "OUR SEAS" by Georgia F. Feild; 

This year's World Albatross Day, celebrated on 19 June is focusing on the connection between albatrosses and the ocean, highlighting how Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can help improve the conservation status of these magnificent birds. 

Bullers Portrait by Rosana Venturini from photo by Ross Wheeler 2"Buller's Albatross Portrait" by Rosana Venturini from a photo by Ross Wheeler

New Zealand’s Near Threatened Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri and the Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus have been chosen as the featured species for 2024’s World Albatross Day celebrations.

Find out more about this year's World Albatross Day at the ACAP website, here.

5 April 2024

A chance to work with albatrosses! The Alaska Department of Fish and Game seeks Program Coordinator for the Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program

alaska department of fish game

The Division of Wildlife Conservation of Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game is advertising for a Program Coordinator for the Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program. The successful candidate must be willing to relocate to Alaska but has the option of living in Juneau, Fairbanks, or Anchorage.

From the advertisement:

“This position serves as the statewide Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity Program (TED Program) Leader, which consists of 10 professional staff working across the state of Alaska. The position helps guide the program’s research and conservation efforts on species of concern and coordinates the State of Alaska’s work on issues involving the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The TED Program works proactively with state, federal, NGO, and private partners to conserve wildlife species (especially nongame species) before they become threatened or endangered and to recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The TED Program leads the implementation of Alaska’s State Wildlife Action Plan (in coordination with ADF&G’s Division of Sportfish) and represents Alaska’s nongame interests at the Pacific Flyway Council’s Nongame Technical Committee. TED Program staff are working to address a diverse range of projects, including research and conservation of olive-sided flycatchers, lesser yellowlegs, golden eagles, bank swallows, red knots, collared pikas, Alaska hares, bats, and gray-headed chickadees. Previous and ongoing seabird work has included species such as Aleutian terns, Short-tailed Albatross, and Marbled and Kittlitz’s murrelets.”

The deadline for applications is 23 April 2024.

Further information on the position can be found at the following link,

3 April 2024

THE ACAP MONTHLY MISSIVE. Promising signs from a rodent eradication on Floreana Island signal hope for the Critically Endangered Galapagos Petrel

Galapagos Petrel Carolina ProañoA Galapagos Petrel in its burrow, photograph by Carolina Proaño

Welcome news comes from an island in the Galapagos Islands where early signs following a recent eradication operation look promising, especially after the failures on Gough Island in the South Atlantic and Midway Atoll in the North Pacific, where House Mice Mus musculus are sadly still present after eradication operations carried out over the last three years.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust reports on the Floreana Ecological Restoration Project: “Last October, the restoration of Floreana Island reached an exciting milestone, as the eradication of invasive [Black Rats Rattus rattus and House Mice], over a decade in the planning, finally began.  The project, led by the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency in partnership with the Floreana community, co-executed by Fundación Jocotoco and Island Conservation, and supported by Galapagos Conservation Trust, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and others, has as its ultimate aim the reintroduction of 12 locally extinct species and the restoration of the island’s degraded ecosystem.  The removal of invasive species is key to the project’s success, and initial indications regarding the eradication of rats and mice, which concluded in December 2023, are positive.”

Successful eradication of Floreana’s introduced rodents should be a help to the island’s breeding population of Critically Endangered Galapagos Petrels Pterodroma phaeopygia, which are endemic to the Galapagos Islands.  Floreana supports over 60% of the species’ global population. One study found almost half the Galapagos Petrel nests on Floreana were preyed upon by feral cats Felis catus (and likely also by Black Rats) despite local control efforts.  However, no public announcement has yet been made on the outcome of the planned effort to eradicate the cats with meat-based “sausages” containing Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) at the same time as the rats and mice (click here).

Floreana Island Conservation
A view of Floreana Island, photograph from Island Conservation

With the eradication attempt showing promising signs for at least the two rodents (although a final announcement of success usually waits for two years with no signs of them) a decision was made to release the endemic Galapagos finches which had been kept in temporary captivity in aviaries on the island during the baiting operation.  A total of 510 finches of five species was released in batches over January and February this year into their natural habitats on the island as part of the Floreana Ecological Restoration Project.  Some of the first released birds were radio tracked to assess if it was safe to release all the birds (click here).

Floriana is an inhabited island with a human population of 160.  If the rats and mice (and also the cats) have definitely gone, it will join with Australia’s inhabited Lord Howe Island, now free of its rats and mice, as yet another success for what must surely be one of the world’s most important conservation activities: ridding islands of their introduced predators.

With grateful thanks to Kelly Hague, Senior Philanthropy Manager and and Tom O’Hara, Communications Manager, Galapagos Conservation Trust.

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 02 April 2024

2024 predicted to be an ‘average’ year for Wedge-tailed Shearwaters in the Freeman Seabird Preserve despite record number of active nests

Hawaii Pacific University students Freeman Seabird Reserve Hyrenbach Shearwater Study 2024From the paper: Figure 1. Hawai‘i Pacific University students weigh ‘Ua‘u kani chicks to study phenology, chick growth, and reproductive success.

David Hyrenbach (Hawai‘i Pacific University) and Alyssa Piauwasdy (Hawai‘i Pacific University & Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge) study Wedge-tailed Shearwaters or 'Ua'u kani Ardenna pacificaLeast Concern) in the Freeman Seabird Preserve on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. They write of the most recent breeding season in the Hawaii Audubon Society journal ‘Elepaio’:

"2023 Update

With participation of over 20 volunteers, we counted the number of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Ardenna pacifica) nesting at the Freeman Seabird Preserve during the incubation (July 14) and early chick-rearing (September 14) periods. In July, we documented 427 active nests, which is the highest count to date and surpasses the previous peak of 423 nests observed in 2022 (Hyrenbach & Piauwasdy 2023). Overall, the annual population counts continue to show a statistically significant trend (F = 395.939; df = 1, 13; p <0.001), with an average increase of 24.7 (+/- 4.8 S.D.) nests per year, which captures 97 % of the variability in the 15-year time series (2009 - 2023; Fig. 2). This trend suggests that the colony continues to grow, in part due to the collaborative restoration efforts.

Wedgie James Campbell Pacific Rim ConserevationA Wedge-tailed Shearwater; photograph courtesy of Pacific Rim Conservation

 Ongoing Efforts

The 2024 winter marks the second year of a tracking and tag effects study to determine where in the big Pacific Ocean the ‘ua‘u kani migrate and spend winter, after leaving FSP in late November. In August 2022, we tagged 25 adults with a geolocator (GLS) tag mounted on a USFWS metal band. In April 2023, we retrieved 24 out of 25 tags (96% recovery rate), gathering over 5,700 days of data that revealed their at- sea movements. We tagged an additional 30 adults in August 2023 to learn about ‘ua‘u kani post-breeding movements during the El Niño. We will retrieve these GLS tags starting in April 2024, along with the one remaining GLS from the 2022-23 winter.


Starting in April 2024, we will check returning adult shearwaters to retrieve the GLS tags and to resight the tagged and control birds. With the second year of tracking underway, we are currently analyzing the 2022-23 winter data and developing statistical models to understand the oceanographic drivers of shearwater winter habitat. By comparing shearwater movements during the past La Niña (2022-23) and the current El Niño (2023-24), we seek to understand how changing oceanographic conditions influence the timing of their migration and their over- wintering destinations. Population censusing and nest monitoring for phenology, chick growth, and reproductive success will continue in 2024, to augment our 15-year time series."

Read more on the 2023 breeding season here.


Hyrenbach, K.D. & Piauwasdy, A. 2023.  Shearwater nesting at Freeman Seabird Preserve: ‘Ua‘u kani cope with El Niño conditions. ‘Elepaio’ 84(2): 12-14.

01 April 2024

A review of wildlife census guidelines using drones or satellites published

ACAP Guidelines remotesensing Attard PaperFigure 1 from the paper shows examples of wildlife detected in satellite and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) imagery. (a) VHR satellites can be used to count individual animals provided that they meet key detection criteria: in an open habitat, of suitable size, and of contrasting colour to the background. For instance, African elephants are visible in open savannahs using 31 cm resolution WorldView-3 imagery [14]. (b) Indirect counts can be performed for species which are not directly detectable; for example, colony sizes of emperor penguins can be estimated from the colony area or the extent of guano staining using 10 m resolution Sentinel-2 satellite imagery [15]. (c) Spectral imagery collected by UAS is typically of higher resolution than that of satellite sensors, enabling counts of smaller animals, such as black-browed albatrosses, in open habitats [16]. (d) For species in closed-cover habitats, for instance, koalas in tree canopy (shown in yellow box), thermal cameras mounted on UAS can aid detection [17]. All panels are cropped versions of the originals and are reproduced under CC BY 4.0 licenses.

Marie R. G. Attard (British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK) and colleagues have published open access in the journal, Remote Sensing, Census Guidelines using drones or satellites. 

The paper, which was discussed at the 7th Meeting of the Albatross and Petrel Agreement’s Population and Conservation Status Working Group, provides an introduction for wildlife biologists and managers relatively new to the field on how to implement remote-sensing techniques (satellite and unoccupied aircraft systems) for counting large vertebrates on land, including marine predators that return to land to breed, haul out or roost, to encourage wider application of these technological solutions.

A link to the article is also available on the ACAP website via the Conservation Guidelines page

The abstract follows:

“Although many medium-to-large terrestrial vertebrates are still counted by ground or aerial surveys, remote-sensing technologies and image analysis have developed rapidly in recent decades, offering improved accuracy and repeatability, lower costs, speed, expanded spatial coverage and increased potential for public involvement. This review provides an introduction for wildlife biologists and managers relatively new to the field on how to implement remote-sensing techniques (satellite and unoccupied aircraft systems) for counting large vertebrates on land, including marine predators that return to land to breed, haul out or roost, to encourage wider application of these technological solutions. We outline the entire process, including the selection of the most appropriate technology, indicative costs, procedures for image acquisition and processing, observer training and annotation, automation, and citizen science campaigns. The review considers both the potential and the challenges associated with different approaches to remote surveys of vertebrates and outlines promising avenues for future research and method development.”


Attard, M.R.G., Phillips, R.A., Bowler, E., Clarke, P.J., Cubaynes, H., Johnston, D.W., Fretwell, P.T. 2024. Review of Satellite Remote Sensing and Unoccupied Aircraft Systems for Counting Wildlife on Land. Remote Sensing

28 March 2024

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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