Restoration of Pajaros Uno Island, Chile will renew the healthy interchange of nutrients from land to sea, advancing opportunities for ecotourism in the region.
“Pajaros” means birds, and as the name suggests, Pajaros Uno Island serves as critical habitat for some of Chile’s most important seabird species, including Peruvian Boobies, Kelp Gulls, and the Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin. Just offshore from the dry, desert island the rich waters of the Coquimbo Coastal Current support the local fishing and ecotourism industry.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, invasive rats were unintentionally introduced to the island—decimating the Peruvian Diving-petrel population along with other seabirds and removing their vital nutrients from the natural island-ocean interchange. In order to make the island once again habitable for seabirds, Island Conservation and Chile’s Ministry of the Environment will remove invasive rats from Pajaros in July 2020.
With the return of seabirds following rat removal, and the regrowth of native vegetations, the marine environment will rebound, and as fish stocks increase the fishing and tourism industries will flourish. Island Conservation’s project lead, Jose Louis Cabello explains,
This project will have a tremendous impact on restoring the island’s ecosystem services to the local fishing community and a prosperous future for local tourism. We all hope that this project will lead us to carry out more eradication and restoration projects in Chile, for the benefit of local communities and conservation.”
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