Shark mothers return home, new research

This video says about itself:

Lemon Sharks [Negaprion brevirostris, 2.0m]

Location: Bahamas, November 2008.

From Nature:

Sharks never forget home

4 December 2013

Female lemon sharks return to their birth waters to deliver offspring — the first direct observation of such behaviour in any shark species.

Kevin Feldheim at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, and his colleagues collected and analysed DNA from lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) in the waters surrounding the Bimini Islands.

New Bahamas national park

This video says about itself:

Bahamas Birds

12 June 2010

Thrasher‘s Nest in my front yard.

From Wildlife Extra:

Joulter Cays IBA in Bahamas to become a national park

November 2013: A new national park on the Joulter Cays IBA, a group of small uninhabited islands and intertidal sand flats to the north of Andros, Island in the Bahamas is to be created by the National Audubon Society (BirdLife in the USA) and Bahamas National Trust (BirdLife in the Bahamas).

The Joulter Cays were designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) for the Piping Plover Charadrius melodus and Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus in 2012. It supports more than four percent of the global population of the Near Threatened Piping Plover and contains wintering locations for Red Knots Calidris canutus, whose population has declined to alarming levels in recent years.

“We have always known that the Joulter Cays were important for fly fishing but the discovery of significant numbers of wintering Piping Plovers and other shorebirds like the Red Knot has been phenomenal and has significantly elevated the area’s importance to the Bahamas and the international community,” said Eric Carey, executive director for the Bahamas National Trust.

This is an essential step in protecting shorebirds and recovering their populations and important in the process of formally protecting the region, and will help preserve the natural heritage of the Bahamas for generations to come. “The Joulter Cays are rich in birds, fisheries and other wildlife. This is true paradise, a treasure for the Bahamas and it deserves protection for all that it has to offer,” said Matt Jeffery, deputy director of Audubon’s International Alliances Program.

A Rapid Ecological Assessment of the Joulter Cays including the terrestrial and marine components and a park designation proposal will be submitted by Bahamas National Trust in consultation with stakeholders who use the area. A recent visit to the IBA with Audubon staff, Honorable Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Environment and Housing for the Bahamas, other senior government officials for the Island of Andros, the board of the Bahamas National Trust and local sports fishing guides highlighted the site’s significance for migrating and wintering birds, marine wildlife and local economies.

“It is clear to me that the Joulter Cays and Andros West Side National Park represent tremendous opportunity for our people” said the Honorable Kenred Dorsett. “The Piping Plover is a species of bird whose numbers are dwindling in the United States, but there are significant numbers that fly here during the winter season between July and March.”

Good Bahamas shearwater news

This video says about itself:

Biggest group of Audubon’s Shearwaters seen feeding together by anyone on the boat. Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern and Brown Booby also present.

From BirdLife:

Shearwaters show signs of recovery as Allen Cay IBA is declared mouse-free

Fri, Jul 5, 2013

Allen Cay in the Bahamas, an important breeding site for Audubon’s Shearwater and home of an eponymous endemic iguana, has been declared free of the invasive house mice which were threatening both species.

“This announcement is a major milestone for the recovery of Allen Cay, and we plan to replicate this success on other islands being damaged by invasive alien species,” said Eric Carey, Executive Director of BirdLife Partner the Bahamas National Trust (BNT).

The cay was de-moused by a partnership including BNT, Island Conservation, Dr John Iverson of Earlham College, and Dr Will Mackin, Seabird Co-Chair of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.

Allen Cay is one of three cays in the Allen’s Cays Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), in the northern Exuma Islands 60 km southeast of Nassau. The IBA supports the third largest breeding population of Audubon’s Shearwaters Puffinus lherminieri lherminieri in the Bahamas, as well as the Allen Cay Rock Iguana Cyclura cychlura inornata, which is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

The inadvertent introduction of non-native house mice led to an artificially high population of normally transient Barn Owls, which stayed to eat the mice, but ate shearwaters and young iguanas too. The shearwater mortality rate was twice as high on Allen Cay as nearby cays without mice.

Beginning in 2009, the partners conducted extensive planning, field trials and public outreach. The Bahamas Ministry of Environment authorised the project in April 2012, and the mice were removed in the following month.

In the first week of June this year, the partners visited the Cay, confirmed the absence of mice, and noted early signs of a recovering island ecosystem. Preliminary findings suggest a significant drop in shearwater mortality.

Mouse removal is part of a larger effort to restore the natural environment of Allen Cay. To minimise the risk of mouse reintroduction, BNT will develop a biosecurity plan, and work with recreational boaters and fishers.

“Invasive species are the leading threat to the Caribbean’s rich biodiversity”, said David Wege, BirdLife’s Caribbean Programme Director. “By building local partnerships and training practitioners in the region in invasive species removal techniques, we are increasing capacity for island restoration to permanently protect the Caribbean’s native species.”

Charles Knapp, PhD, of the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and colleagues compared the differences in physiological values and endoparasitic infection rates between northern Bahamian rock iguanas inhabiting tourist-visited islands and those living on non-tourist-visited islands. They took blood and faecal samples from both male and female iguanas over two research trips in 2010 and 2012. The Bahamian rock iguana is among the world’s most endangered lizards due to habitat loss, introduced mammals, illegal hunting, threats related to increased tourism, and smuggling for the illicit pet trade. They are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: here.

Hammerhead shark video

This video from the Bahamas about endangered sharks says about itself:

Great Hammerheads in Bimini January 2013. Low res version due to internet connection quality. More to come when I will be home.