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Earth Day Every Day—Six Bright Spots in Conservation

Successes in conservation are worth celebrating on Earth Day and every day—here are six stories of extinctions prevented and the species we can save if we act now.

1. Anacapa Island, California Channel Islands, USA

Island Conservation’s first US-based project restored nesting habitat for native Scripps’s Murrelets and helped prevent their Endangered listing.

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Restoration leads to a 90% increase in hatchling survival of the Scripps’ Murrelet and helps the species avoid Endangered listing. Credit: Shayne Wolf

2. Hawadax (Rat Island), Alaska, USA

Restoration brings Tufted Puffins to nest on the island. The success of the project ultimately leads to Rat Island being renamed to its original Aleut name—Hawadax.

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A Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) soaring over Hawadax Island, Alaska. Credit: Ilana Nimz/USFWS

3. Pinzón Island, Galápagos 

After 150 years, the first Pinzón Giant Tortoises are able to hatch and survive on their namesake island, resulting in their downlisting from “Extinct-in-the-wild” to “Vulnerable.”

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Juvenile Pinzón Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station Breeding Center on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos. Credit: Island Conservation

4. Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands

Restoration of Palmyra Atoll shows ecosystem-wide benefits including an increase in seabird populations, a 5000% increase in seedlings of native vegetation, and likely cascading benefits to surrounding coral reefs.

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A Red-footed Booby perched in a tree on Palmyra Atoll. Credit: Andrew Wright

5. Acteon and Gambier Archipelagos, French Polynesia

In 2017, Island Conservation and our partner declared the successful removal of invasive species from five islands in the Acteon and Gambier Archipelagos, French Polynesia. This action doubled safe breeding habitat for the Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove.

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Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove perched on a branch. Credit: Marie-Helene Burle

6. Choros and Chañaral Islands, Chile

The introduction of invasive rabbits devastated native Humboldt Penguin and Diving Petrel populations on Choros and Chañaral Islands, but now native vegetation is returning and these seabirds have safe nesting habitat once again.

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An adult Humboldt Penguin protecting a nest with two chicks. Credit: Island Conservation

These are just a few of the incredible and inspiring success stories that reveal the impact invasive species removal can have on an island. Through restoration, we can and continue to prevent extinctions of threatened island species.

Hope for the Future

Midway Atoll is home to one of the most important albatross breeding colonies in the Pacific, but these seabirds need your help. In 2016, after US Fish and Wildlife Service discovered invasive house mice attacking fully-grown albatross while they nest, it became clear that something needed to be done.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument managers, Island Conservation, and other partners are working together to protect these seabirds and help prevent the extinction of these fragile populations. Restoring Midway will benefit the world’s largest Laysan Albatross colony, an important Black-footed Albatross colony, Critically Endangered Laysan Ducks, 18 other species, and even a rare, nesting pair of Endangered Short-tailed Albatross.

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Laysan Albatross on Midway Atoll. Credit: Gregg Howald/Island Conservation

Midway is not the only island where species are at risk from predatory invasive mice. Pushed to the brink of extinction, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross and Tristan Albatross are in need of help on Gough Island. The UK Territory is home to an array of rare and threatened seabirds that return the island year after year to nest. To protect these magnificent albatross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Island Conservation are working together to remove invasive mice and help prevent their extinction.

We are hopeful that one day the restoration of Midway and Gough Islands will also be seen as a bright spot in conservation worth celebrating! This Earth Day, make a difference and help prevent extinctions by supporting one of the most effective conservation actions available.

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Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross need a safe, invasive-free island to nest. Credit: Tristan da Cunha

Featured photo: A Laysan Albatross spreading its wings on Midway Atoll. Credit: Gregg Howald/Island Conservation

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 63 islands worldwide, benefiting 1173 populations of 468 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

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Midway Atoll conservation