Novelist and essayist Jonathan Franzen highlights the worldwide decline of seabirds, the threats they face, and how Island Conservation and other organizations are working to prevent extinctions on islands around the world.
Some might imagine that seabirds which nest on remote islands and spend the majority of their lifetime at sea would be safe from many environmental concerns. However, seabirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds worldwide. To understand what is threatening them, we must look at the habitats they depend on for survival—islands and oceans. For seabirds, invasive species on islands pose the largest threat of extinction. When this is compounded with pollution, climate change, plastics, and commercial fishing, it’s amazing seabirds are able to survive at all.
Jonathan Franzen, an award-winning novelist and conservationist, has delved into the impacts that invasive species and other environmental concerns pose to seabirds on islands around the world. From the Farallon Islands of the coast of San Francisco to Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, Franzen points to dedicated conservation efforts and organizations such as Island Conservation that are striving to prevent extinctions of seabirds. Franzen explains:
Organizations such as Island Conservation, a nonprofit based in California, have perfected the use of helicopters and GIS technology to target predators with poisoned mammal-specific bait. Animal lovers may grieve at the mass killing of small furry mammals, but human beings have an even greater responsibility to the species they’ve threatened with extinction, however inadvertently, by introducing predators.”
The article is featured in National Geographic’s July issue and explores the issues that seabirds face and the hope that conservation efforts bring. Dr. Nick Holmes, Island Conservation’s Director of Science commented:
Seabirds respond well to restoration. Addressing the terrestrial threat bolsters their resistance to all the other threats.”
The article also features a map exploring the leading threats to seabirds which uses data from the Threatened Island Biodiversity Database.
Removal of invasive species is one of the most critical interventions for saving threatened plants and animals and restoring island ecosystems, with remarkable recovery of native species worldwide.
Read the full article at National Geographic
Featured photo: Invasive carnivorous mice are threatening Gough Island‘s native species, including Tristan and Yellow-nosed Albatross. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Island Conservation are working together to remove invasive mice from Gough Island in 2019. Credit: Ben Dilley
- Island Conservation and Partners Present: Beyond Biodiversity - November 6, 2018
- Albatross-eating Mice Responsible for Two Million Fewer Seabird Chicks on UK Island Each Year - October 19, 2018
- Remembering Bill Wood – A Conservation Hero - October 17, 2018
- Forbes: Does It Really Matter If Just One Species Goes Extinct? - October 17, 2018
- Another Poor Breeding Season for Tristan Albatross on Gough Island - October 5, 2018
- Chilean Navy Collaborates with International NGO Island Conservation to Protect Endangered Species - October 5, 2018
- Rapid Rodent Response on St Paul Island, Alaska - September 26, 2018
- Macquarie Island and the Unintended Spread of Invasive Species - September 26, 2018
- CEMEX Presents 26th Volume of Nature and Conservation Book Series: ‘Islands’ - September 26, 2018
- How You Can Protect Island Wildlife - September 26, 2018