Pájaros Uno is located 20.6 kilometers to the west of mainland Chile and 40 kilometers north of La Serena, a major city in northern Chile. It is part of the Coquimbo Coastal Current System, which is made up of seven islands and their surrounding waters. This system supports large breeding colonies of threatened and emblematic seabirds which nest on the islands, as well as migratory seabirds and marine mammals.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PAJAROS UNO ISLAND

The island is home to important seabird breeding colonies: nearly 3,000 pairs of Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata), Chile’s largest colony of Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus) with 2,000 pairs, and close to 600 pairs of breeding Humboldt Penguins (IUCN Vulnerable). Historically, this island was an important breeding site for the diminutive Peruvian Diving-petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii) (IUCN Endangered), but this species was extirpated from the island.

THE PROBLEM

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the invasive black rat was accidentally introduced to Pajaros Uno Island by fishermen who traditionally used the island to harvest seabird eggs or to take refuge during stormy weather or dangerous seas. Since then, the native fauna has been subject to the depredations of this invasive rodent. Rats will eat seabird eggs or chicks and can devastate native plant life as they eat seeds and seedlings.

THE SOLUTION

In 2020, the Chilean Ministry of the Environment and Island Conservation started working in conjunction with the local communities and scientists to manage invasive species on Pajaros Uno by removing invasive rodents, thus launching the island and its marine and terrestrial communities on the path to recovering their natural potential.

THE RESULTS

By managing invasive species, strengthening biosecurity, and allowing the ecosystem to recover, we will preserve local biodiversity, allowing fishing communities to have greater access to sustainable tourism opportunities.

PROJECT STATUS

Currently, project partners are ready to take the first steps towards the restoration of Pajaros Uno, which include: implementing the eradication of the black rat, improving biosecurity for the island, and blazing a new trail towards sustainable development in Chile.

Five species of threatened seabirds. Once restored, the island will be an ideal breeding ground for these birds.

A low diversity of plant life. Upon completing the eradication of the black rat, it is expected that previously undocumented species will burst forth from the seed bank, increasing plant diversity.

Fishing communities that favor sustainable ecotourism which is focused on the observation and appreciation of the dynamic interplay between the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the region.

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