Project Description

CHOROS ISLAND

HUMBOLDT PENGUIN NATIONAL RESERVE, CHILE

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Sara de Rodt stands among Peruvian Diving-petrel burrows on Choros Island, Chile.
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It has been incredible to see the population of Peruvian Diving-petrels increase on Choros since the removal of invasive rabbits, but I am even more excited that this resilient population will also help us to restore the population expelled from Chañaral Island.

MARIA JOSE VILCHES
Island Restoration Specialist

after the removal of invasive rabbits from Choros in 2013, Island Conservation biologists returned to study the recovery of Chile’s largest Peruvian Diving-petrel population.

The petrels are thriving. The team documented an estimated 50,000 breeding pairs—six times the number of pairs when invasive rabbits were present. The number of overall colonies has tripled and the growing population shows the dramatic effect that conservation interventions can have for seabirds on the brink.

In late 2019, Vilches began restoring seabirds to nearby Chañaral Island, which was freed of invasive vertebrates in 2017. Chañaral was once home to a thriving petrel colony, but invasive vertebrate species put an end to that breeding population, and none breed there today.

Vilches initiated a social attraction project using recorded petrel calls from Choros to help restore the population on Chañaral. Recolonization will help make this endangered species more resilient to future threats and further the recovery of the global population of Peruvian Diving-petrels.

Project completed in partnership with Corporación Nacional Forestal and Universidad Católica del Norte. This project was made possible by funding from American Bird Conservancy and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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Peruvian Diving-petrel.
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