Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP’s Population and Conservation Working Group has a successful first day in Uruguay: robot camera, pathogen review, status and trends, the serious plight of Gough’s Tristan Albatrosses and more

ACAP’s Population and Conservation Status Working Group (PaCSWG) started its second meeting yesterday at the Barradas Hotel in the resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay.  The meeting was chaired by Richard Phillips (Convenor, United Kingdom) aided by Flavio Quintana (Vice Convenor, Argentina) and Wiesława Misiak (ACAP Science Officer).

With nearly 30 participants in the room, useful discussions were held on the first seven items in the meeting’s agenda.  Some highlights of the discussion follow.

The working group heard of Australia’s development of high resolution, time-efficient, remote camera technology – ‘Gigapan’ that enables monitoring of colony-wide breeding behaviour from a proximal vantage point (PaCSWG2 Inf 06).  This technology is based on NASA's Mars Rover camera systems, and allows analysis of combined, multiple megapixel images in a gigapixel format.  The robotic camera has been tested in a Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta colony on Albatross Island off north-west Tasmania.

Shy Albatrosses on Albatross Island, photograph by Rachael Alderman

The working group agreed to submit a recommendation to the Eighth Meeting of the ACAP Advisory Committee, to be held in Punta del Este next week, that it takes note of the deleterious effects of Gough’s “killer” House Mice Mus musculus on the island’s Critically Endangered Tristan Albatrosses Diomedea dabbenena (and other seabirds) and recommends that action be taken to eradicate them.

Jonathan Barrington (Australian Antarctic Division) reported on the plans to review and update Australia’s National Recovery Plan for Threatened Albatrosses and Giant Petrels by 2016.

The meeting took note of progress updating a review of pathogens in ACAP species (PaCSWG2 Doc 04) with inputs by Marcela Uhart of the University of Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine.

Other matters discussed by the PaCSWG include updates to the population trends of the 30 ACAP-listed species (some up, but most either down or currently stable), management of land-based threats, and identifying key gaps in at-sea tracking data, especially of juveniles and immatures.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 09 September 2014