Cahow conservation scheme adopted to help other species
A conservation programme to increase Bermuda’s threatened cahow population is being adopted around the world to protect other endangered species.
The island’s national bird was once believed to be extinct, but was rediscovered by conservationist David Wingate in the 1950s.
Although still a critically endangered seabird, the cahow population is now growing through a breeding programme on Nonsuch island.
According to a feature article in Slate magazine, the success of the programme is now being used as a template to save other birds that are at risk from dying out.
The article, by journalist Helen Santoro, states: “Because the cahow recovery program has been such a success, conservationists around the world are implementing similar programs to save a variety of birds.
“In Hawaii, for example, the endangered Hawaiian petrel is being moved to a protected haven in the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.
“Just last year, the first of the 87 birds translocated as chicks returned after several years out at sea – a good sign for the species.
“And with seabirds being among the most imperilled family of birds in the world, this technique will likely become more popular in the years to come.”
The cahow population continues to grow, with 142 established breeding pairs recorded on Nonsuch this year – up from 135 pairs in 2020.
The article included an interview with Jeremy Madeiros, principal scientist with Government’s department of environment and natural resources.
Addressing the success of the conservation effort, Mr Madeiros told the magazine: “It’s really improved beyond my wildest, most optimistic dreams.
“Most Bermudians didn’t know a lot about the bird 20 years ago.
“Now, we hope the birds will be safe for centuries.”