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Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui: history, biology and conservation of an endangered endemic petrel

Abstract : The Barau’s petrel Pterodroma baraui is an endangered gadfly petrel endemic to Reunion Island. It nests in pristine cloud forests between 2200 m and 2800 m above sea level. Although locally abundant, this species is one of the least-studied seabirds in the world. The lack of basic biological information constrains effective conservation action. In this paper, we compile information on past and present status and distribution, ecology, threats and conservation actions. The objectives were to: (i) summarize current knowledge and identify major gaps, (ii) outline major threats to Barau’s Petrel and (iii) propose management actions to mitigate those threats. Critical gaps in our knowledge include (i) a lack of precise demographic parameters, (ii) the exact distribution of this species at sea and the factors that influence it, and (iii) habitat requirements associated with nesting. Barau’s Petrel is classified endangered (International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List 2008). The major threats include, in order of importance, predation by alien mammals, light-induced mortality and modification of nesting habitat. These threats affect the various age classes of the population (eggs, chicks, juveniles and adults) differently. A recent modelling exercise suggested the extinction of Barau’s Petrel in fewer than 100 years, attributable to feral cat predation at breeding colonies in the absence of cat control. The recent establishment of a National Park on Reunion Island should unify conservation and research actions, and prioritise controlling feral cats in breeding colonies. This control should commence as soon as possible in association with a dedicated education program on the effects of feral cats on the Barau’s Petrel population.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 3:05:01 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 5:56:24 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, October 3, 2021 - 8:04:23 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03276919, version 1


Patrick Pinet, Marc Salamolard, Jean-Michel Probst, James C. Russell, Sebastien Jaquemet, et al.. Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui: history, biology and conservation of an endangered endemic petrel. Marine Ornithology, 2009, 37 (2), pp.107-113. ⟨hal-03276919⟩



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