Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Planning for a Chatham Island Albatross Translocation Project well underway

Established in 1998, the Chatham Islands Taiko Trust was originally created to conserve the endangered Magenta Petrel or Taiko Pterodroma magentae of New Zealand's Chatham Islands.  Over the years, the Trust has expanded its conservation aims to provide the Chatham Island community with the opportunity and tools needed to enhance natural habitats and preserve other unique wildlife on their islands.

A proposal to establish a second breeding colony of Chatham Island Albatrosses Thalassarche eremita at a site near Point Gap, Tuku Farm using a chick translocation programme has been made.


A Chatham Albatross feeds its chick on The Pyramid, photographed by Lorna Deppe

The Chatham Island Albatross is a New Zealand endemic species that only breeds on one island, The Pyramid. It is presently listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable, and its status cannot be improved without the establishment of a second colony.

The project aims will be achieved by a chick-translocation programme, following methods developed by the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology which is attempting to establish a new breeding population of threatened Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus on Japan’s Mukojima Island (click here).

Over a period of three summers, chicks will be collected from The Pyramid at two different stages during the breeding season and transferred via boat to the release site. Chicks will be fed and monitored daily until fledging in three to four months time.  Fledged chicks could start returning to the colony at the age of four, and begin breeding at the age of seven.

Prior to the translocation of chicks, the release site will be developed to simulate an active albatross colony.  This will include the installation of artificial nests, deploying model adult albatrosses, and establishing a sound system playing Chatham Albatross calls.

The Taiko Trust is partnering with the Yamashina Institute of Ornithology in Japan as well as Chatham Island landowners, Bruce and Liz Tuanui. Additional support for the project has been received from The Royal Forest and Bird Society, BirdLife International, Chatham Island Conservation Board, Enterprise Trust, and Council, the Daymond Family (owners of The Pyramid), as well as from the local community.

To find out more details about the translocation project click here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 12 October 2013