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Laysan albatross have only two main nesting sites

N THE FACE Above all, the Laysan albatross is doing pretty well. Its population is estimated to be about 1.6 million and may be increasing. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Classify it as “nearly endangered” and place it on the second level from the bottom of the organization’s seven ladders to extinct it. Cause of moderate concern. But, as you might think, it should be at the top of the list of conservationist priorities. However, like other moderately abundant migratory species, the Monarch butterfly, the Laysan albatross has an Achilles tendon.

The monarchs are widespread in much of North America, but many are winter roosting insects or descendants of the same few grove in central Mexico. If you destroy those trees, you will endanger the species. Laysan albatross has a similar vulnerability. Adult birds cross most of the Pacific Ocean. However, more than 90% of them began living in one of two lands, Midway, one of the most northwestern members of the Hawaiian Islands, and Raysan, which bears its name.Laysan albatross shoots immediately after clearing those breeding colonies IUCN Ladder.

Both Midway and Raysan, one of the oldest parts of the Hawaiian chain, have been eroded over time, from their original splendor as mountain volcanic islands to their current state as coral atolls protruding a few meters. Some ornithologists are afraid of it because it has been. Above sea level. Hundreds of thousands of nests were destroyed by the storm surge in 2011, and thousands of nests were lost even in normal years. Rising sea levels can exacerbate this. Then it’s time to spread the risk of the species by establishing colonies of Laysan albatross elsewhere.

The project for this was in 2015 with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy, its Fish and Wildlife Service (government agency), and several private conservation groups led by a group called Pacific Rim Conservation, another member of the archipelago, Kauai. It started when I started moving Albatross eggs from. It supports small bird colonies up to Oahu, home of Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu. Here, after hatching and hatching, they are transferred to a wildlife sanctuary 10 meters above sea level, where squid and fish are bred by hand for five months, fledging and leaving the island.

While there, they are exposed to fiberglass decoys and solar-powered megaphones that broadcast albatross calls. The hope is that these tricks will encourage chicks to imprint the area and come there to breed as adults. Young Razan spends three to five years at sea before returning to her birthplace for the first time, so it took some time to discover if that would work. But the sponsorship seems pretty good. Of the 46 Razans that have been successfully raised since the 2015, 2016 and 2017 breeders, 7 have returned to date. As a bonus, decoy birds and barks also attract hundreds of adult Laysan albatross, including the four pairs that have begun nesting.

There is a caveat. The transfer of eggs from Kauai was not a true conservation effort, but a proof of principle. The nest in question was chosen because Kauai wasn’t an atoll and wasn’t comfortable because it was too close to the Navy’s airfield. More seriously, if albatrosses settle on Oahu, there is the issue of protecting them. The lack of predators is a possible reason why many birds are now nesting in Midway and Raysan rather than on large islands. Small rodents introduced by human visitors were a problem in both places (although they were excluded from Raysan). However, there are many larger imported predators on Oahu as well. Therefore, the albatross sanctuary is surrounded by a 2-meter-high fence that protects cats, dogs, and pigs. It is also dug into the ground to prevent rodents from sneaking under it. This enhanced 6.5 hectares of land can accommodate tens of thousands of nesting birds. As Jared Underwood of the Fish and Wildlife Service states, “We only allow them to come back.” However, that permission depends on the fortress being maintained.

However, the project partners are currently expanding. They decided to house a related species, the Black-footed Albatross, which has similar habits on Oahu. These were moved from both the Midway and another atoll, Turn Island. Partners are also seeking to establish colonies in the Channel Islands off California and Guadalupe off Mexico, far from the Hawaiian Islands. Hopefully, the Laysan albatross conservation project may prove a rare example of closing the stable door before the horse is bolted.

This article was published in the Printed Science and Technology section under the heading “Don’t put all eggs in one basket”.

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