Researchers discover and photograph an egg-carrying Critically Endangered Mascarene Petrel in flight.
Against the background of a pinkish-orange sunset, with Réunion Island in the distance, I spotted a petrel through my camera’s viewfinder. Almost immediately I saw the outline of an egg, a huge bump at its belly. I called out to the other expedition members – ‘she has an egg, she has an egg…’ She flew close to the boat which gave me the unique chance to photograph her just before the sun set. It was a magical moment, and to think that in less than an hour she would probably lay her egg and contribute to the future survival of this threatened species.
These are first photos of Mascarene Petrel taken at sea. Up until now the only shots are of grounded birds, brought down due to artificial lighting on Réunion, the breeding island.
This exciting discovery provides important information on a very poorly known and globally threatened seabird. The finders are to be congratulated on their dedication. Their discovery was no accident, combining meticulous planning and research.
For most Critically Endangered species like Mascarene Petrel there is still hope for their survival,” added Safford, BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme Manager. “BirdLife and its partners are working to save the world’s most threatened species from extinction. With the right conservation action, often underpinned by sound science, we have improved the populations and fortunes of many species.”
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