NATION

Fijian Petrel Nest Sites Not Located: Report

Until a bird was captured in 1984, the Fijian Petrel was previously thought to have become extinct and known only from a single museum specimen collected in 1855. It is currently believed that fewer than 50 pairs survive, breeding in 52 square kilometres of rugged forest on the island of Gau, but its nesting grounds have yet to be located.
07 Aug 2019 14:16
Fijian Petrel Nest Sites Not Located:  Report
Fijian Petrel – (Kacau Ni Gau).

The Fijian Petrel – (Kacau Ni Gau) – nests have not been located. This was stated in the report presented at the Lomaiviti Provincial Council at Sawaieke Village last Friday by NatureFiji – MareqetiViti.

“This is the single most urgent and important conservation action required now to save the species from extinction,” the report said.

According to the report the Fijian Petrel is a national and international seabird icon. Once considered lost, but rediscovered in 1984, its nesting grounds have yet to be found – one of only a very few seabirds whose nesting sites remain unknown.

Until a bird was captured in 1984, the Fijian Petrel was previously thought to have become extinct and known only from a single museum specimen collected in 1855. It is currently believed that fewer than 50 pairs survive, breeding in 52 square kilometres of rugged forest on the island of Gau, but its nesting grounds have yet to be located.

Known potential threats on Gau include predation by introduced cats, rats and feral pigs.

The report said that the arrival of their two New Zealand-trained petrel dogs – Bob and Tar in 2011 provided them with the best chance ever of finding the nests.

“We have used the Collared Petrel (Pterodroma brevipes – Vulnerable) as a surrogate species and has proved a valuable way of providing local project assistants with an on-the-job learning experience of conservation management, without in any way endangering Fijian petrels.

As they continue to gather data, they have come to appreciate that there is an urgent need to act now.

In the absence of significant funding, below are the priorities for the Fijian petrel and collared petrel programme on Gau Island from 2019 onwards:

1. Revise the Fijian Petrel species recovery plan in consultation with the people of Gau and Lomaiviti Provincial Council.

2. Continue predator control around collared petrel nests to minimise collared petrel mortality to feral cats, rats and wild pigs.

3. Continue to search for the nesting burrows of the Fijian petrel.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedbackmaikab@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Waterfront Lautoka Fiji
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: