New paper identifies every island worldwide where seabirds are threatened by invasive species.
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“Thanks to hundreds of collaborations from seabird biologists around the world, we were able to compile a global database that identifies islands where threatened seabirds are vulnerable to extinction. The Threatened Island Biodiversity database also highlights islands where invasive species eradications are needed or where protected areas are missing”, said Dena R. Spatz, first author on the paper and graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Over 1300 present and locally extinct seabird populations (representing 98 species) were identified on 968 islands.
- Invasive species – a major threat to seabirds – potentially impact breeding populations on 60% of these islands.
- Only one third of threatened seabird islands (359 islands; or 37%) are formally protected (i.e. >90% covered in protected areas), and over half (534 islands; or 55%) have no legal protection. 83% of threatened seabird islands lack adequate protection and/or are threatened by invasive alien species.
- Eradicating invasive mammal populations to benefit native species is a tried and tested conservation technique. Most islands with threatened seabirds can easily be saved from these threats because the islands are small (57% were <1 km2), uninhabited (74%), and are owned by relatively wealthy countries (96% owned by higher income countries). Collectively these attributes make islands with threatened seabirds a rare opportunity for effective conservation at scale.
This research was funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation*, Island Conservation, the Friends of Long Marine Lab, and Dr. Earl H. Myers and Ethel M. Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust.
Click here or on the infographic image below by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to learn more about seabird conservation through island restoration!
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