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