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American Bird Conservancy invests in on-the-ground conservation for the Townsend’s Shearwater and other endangered species

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The Townsend’s Shearwater, along with several other seabird species, will benefit from on-the-ground conservation work and financial support from American Bird Conservancy. Photo by GECI, J.A. Soriano

(Washington, D.C., May 30, 2019)Today, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) announced awards totaling $100,000 to restore important seabird nesting colonies in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. The awards will leverage additional matching funds, putting a total of $243,000 on the ground for direct conservation. Through this effort, ABC and partners are investing in the future of some of the Western Hemisphere’s most imperiled seabirds, including the Townsend’s Shearwater, Guadalupe Murrelet, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Townsend’s Storm-Petrel, Peruvian Diving-Petrel, and Black-capped Petrel. These species are listed as Endangered and Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Some of the nesting sites where the projects will occur are globally recognized for their unique biodiversity through the Alliance for Zero Extinction.

These restoration grants, the first of their kind offered by ABC, address an urgent need for increased investment in capacity for seabird restoration, particularly in South America, where 38 globally threatened seabirds occur amidst unaddressed and growing threats, such as introduced predators.

Support for local initiatives is a key focus of these awards. “We are pleased to provide funds to dedicated local conservationists, many of whom are the only individuals or groups working to protect seabirds in their countries,” says Hannah Nevins, ABC’s Seabird Program Director.

Awards include:

  • MexicoYuliana Bedolla and Federico Mendez of Grupo Ecología y Conservación de las Islas (GECI) will lead a project focused on restoration and monitoring on seven Mexican islands to protect four globally threatened seabird species. GECI is globally recognized for its expertise in eradicating nonnative species from islands. The project will benefit the Critically Endangered Townsend’s Shearwater and Endangered Guadalupe Murrelet, Ashy Storm-Petrel, and Townsend’s Storm-Petrel. Social attraction and artificial burrows will be used to attract birds to nest sites protected from nonnative predators.
     
  • Peru – This project will support conservation of the Endangered Peruvian Diving-Petrel by providing baseline information on nonnative rodent impacts at the birds’ island nesting sites. It will also create a framework to communicate the need for conservation action, including invasive rodent eradication, on two important seabird islands off the Peruvian coast in the Reserva Nacional de Paracas. This effort will be led by Dr. Carlos Zavalaga of Universidad Científica del Sur, Marine Ecosystems Research Unit - Seabird Group, and Dr. Joanna Alfaro of ProDelphinus, in Lima, Peru.
     
  • Chile – Social attraction techniques that broadcast bird calls to simulate the sounds of an active colony will be used to attract Endangered Peruvian Diving-Petrels to the island of Chañaral, which was formerly home to the world’s largest nesting colony of the species, but is now empty. An earlier project to eradicate habitat-damaging nonnative rabbits has made the island safe for the birds to return. This work will be led by Coral Wolf of Island Conservation in collaboration with local partner Dr. Claudia Fernández Zamora of Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile.
     
  • Dominican Republic – A team, led by Ernst Rupp of the conservation nonprofit Grupo Jaragua and Dr. Yvan Satgé from the South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Clemson University, will work in the Sierra de Bahoruco to protect the few known nesting sites of the Endangered Black-capped Petrelby controlling nonnative predators.

“For species such as the Black-capped Petrel, few nesting sites have been found, so it is critical to protect each and every known site. The clock is ticking loudly for this species. Adult birds return every year to the same burrow and are subject to an onslaught of threats — human disturbance, agricultural encroachment, forest fires, and nonnative predators,” says Nevins.

Seabirds are among the most imperiled groups of birds. About one-third of seabird species are in decline worldwide due the above-mentioned threats, along with sea-level rise, reduction of prey due to overfishing, and fisheries bycatch. Most seabirds nest on or under the ground in burrows, where they are especially vulnerable to nonnative predators, including feral cats, mongooses, rats, and mice.

“Through these awards, ABC seeks to promote the kind of coordinated, large-scale efforts needed to conserve seabird nesting colonies,” added Dr. George Wallace, ABC’s Threatened Species Conservation Officer. “The goal is to ensure that our children will see these magnificent species persist into the next century and beyond.”

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.orgFacebookInstagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), IUCN, UNEP, GEF, and the Governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar team up to safeguard endangered species

(Montreal/Cambridge/Washington, D.C., April 28, 2016)Gathered in Montreal1, leading conservation organizations have announced a new global initiative to prevent the extinction of endangered species, in partnership with the governments of Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar.

Supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the initiative will mobilize $6.7 million to deliver a project entitled the “Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE): Conserving Earth’s Most Irreplaceable Sites for Endangered Biodiversity.”AZEis a global initiative working to prevent species extinctions by identifying and safeguarding the places where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are restricted to single remaining sites.

Birds such as theStresemann’s Bristlefront2, clinging to existence with fewer than 15 known individuals in significantly fragmented habitat in Brazil, will be targeted. The project’s focus will be the creation and improved management effectiveness of protected areas and the improved conservation status of AZE species at five demonstration sites in Brazil, Chile, and Madagascar and at an additional 10 sites globally.3

“By focusing on those sites that represent the tip of the iceberg of the extinction crisis, the Alliance for Zero Extinction is a key approach to save species from extinction,” said Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programs. “These are sites that are the last remnants for entire species. Saving the habitat is saving these fragile species."

Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Brazil,stated:“By expanding the Mata do PassarinhoReserve and working with local landowners, this initiative will provide a vital lifeline for the critically endangered Stresemann’s Bristlefront. The initiative will provide essential information to inform national species conservation efforts, by focusing effort on the last remaining habitats of endangered species.”

Neville Ash, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Director,said:“Working with the GEF and other partners, this UNEP project is the first global effort to integrate AZE as a distinct priority into conservation planning at the national level. It will scale up best practices on effective and equitable management of the world’s ecological safety nets, and has potential to have a major long-term reduction of global extinction rates, directly contributing towards CBD’s Aichi Targets 11 and 12.”

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity,stated:“Protecting the last remaining habitats for critically endangered species is a vital strategy for preventing extinctions. The CBD Secretariat welcomes this initiative as a contribution towards global species conservation efforts.”

Diego Flores Arrate, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Chile,said: “In Chile, the initiative seeks to create conditions for the survival of three amphibian species, by protecting their habitat and reducing impacts from farming, ranching, and logging activities, considering a participatory approach with different stakeholders.”

Paola Mosig Reidl, CONABIO, Government of Mexico,stated:“Mexico is a strong supporter of the Alliance for Zero Extinction. As host of the CBD COP this year, Mexico welcomes the role of the AZE initiative in informing global species conservation efforts.”

Michael Parr, Chairman of AZE and Chief Conservation Officer for American Bird Conservancy,said: “AZE presents an ambitious but realistic plan to address Earth’s pending extinction crisis. This is a team effort that ultimately needs to involve all of us. The time for action is now.”

Pepe Clarke, Head of Policy, BirdLife International,stated:“This initiative is particularly important as it links local conservation action to national and international policy. We are truly honoured to be working with the Governments of Brazil, Chile and Madagascar.”

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3 paws out of 4

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