New Zealand seabirds, new report

This video from Hawaii says about itself:

A presentation at the Hawai`i Conservation Conference by Holly B. Freifeld1, (and Helen Gummer2; 1U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Honolulu, HI, 2Private Contractor, Wellington, New Zealand) on “Seabird Translocation, New Zealand-style: Ideas and Applications for Restoration and Conservation in Hawai‘i“.

The New Zealand/Hawai‘i Conservation Exchange Program, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research in New Zealand, seeks to “enhance communication of approaches, techniques, and philosophies relevant to…common conservation and management issues” through interaction among conservation workers in the two archipelagos.

With support from this program and the community non-profit group Friends of Mana Island (FOMI), HBF traveled to New Zealand in January 2007 to assist HG, contractor to FOMI, with the second of three planned translocations of Fluttering Shearwaters (Puffinus gavia) to Mana Island, a scientific reserve owned and managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. The purpose of HBF’s participation was to gain hands-on experience of translocation methods pioneered in New Zealand. Ninety-one chicks between two and five weeks from fledging were transferred from their natal colony on Long Island (Marlborough Sounds) to Mana Island (off the Porirua coast) on 4 January.

Under supervision of HG, HBF participated from 4 to 14 January along with other volunteers in preparing artificial burrows, monitoring and hand-feeding chicks, and preparing food and equipment. By 10 February at least 81 chicks or 90% were presumed to have fledged successfully. Field time permitted extensive discussion of the evolution of translocation techniques, critical decision points for individual birds and translocation efforts, and lessons learned for taxa that are similar to Hawaiian seabirds. In addition, ideas and suggestions were raised for the application of seabird translocation as a tool for the restoration and conservation of Hawaiian seabirds.

From Wildlife Extra:

New report highlights New Zealand’s global responsibility for seabirds

A new report has identified significant areas of New Zealand’s land and sea that require special consideration to protect the seabirds that depend on these places for their survival. The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation, says the report – New Zealand Seabirds: Important Bird Areas and Conservation – has major implications for its government’s ongoing large-scale sell-off of deep sea oil and gas drilling rights.

The work is part of a global effort to identify where bird species live to ensure threatened species are adequately protected.

“New Zealand has an extraordinary wealth of seabirds,” says Seabird Advocate for Forest & Bird, Karen Baird. “More than one-third of the world’s seabird species live at least part of their lives in our Exclusive Economic Zone.

“New Zealand also has more seabird species that breed only within its jurisdiction than any other country in the world. We have 36 species. Mexico is next on the list, with only five species.

“Sadly, New Zealand also has more threatened seabird species than anywhere else in the world. These include the Chatham Island taiko, yellow-eyed penguin, Antipodean wandering albatross, the New Zealand fairy tern – with only 10 pairs left – and the tiny New Zealand storm petrel, which was recently discovered breeding on Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, and which until 2003 was thought to be extinct.”

Because many seabird species spend their lives at sea, it is very hard to work out which areas are important for them to breed or forage. The global Important Bird Areas (IBAs) project uses agreed scientific criteria from Forest & Bird’s partner, BirdLife International, to begin the process of identifying where internationally recognised marine IBAs are.

Many IBAs have been identified across New Zealand, and in its waters. There are 69 within its territorial seas and Exclusive Economic Zone alone.

“The sheer number of IBAs for seabirds calls for a major rethink of the mass sell-off of deep water oil and gas drilling rights within our EEZ. As the industry oil spill modelling shows, a deep sea blowout could cover thousands of square kilometres of bird habitat in oil – which in turn could push some species to the brink of extinction,” Karen Baird says. “All threats to all IBAs for seabirds will need to be minimised, including those from fishing and uncontrolled coastal development.

“The report will also be valuable for local communities and agencies to help them protect the significant populations of threatened seabirds that spend at least part of the year in their neighbourhoods.”

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