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October 3, 2016
Last week, rangers with the Galapagos National Park began monitoring activities for Galapagos petrel colonies on Santa Cruz Island to determine their population status, and to implement measures to control introduced species that may affect their reproductive success this year.
Rangers started with colonies in Cerro Helecho, at the Granillo rojo mine, and in Media Luna in the Santa Cruz highlands. They evaluated each of the 652 nests recorded previously and verified that at least 70% of them had chicks. Rangers also placed 1,100 rodent control stations in the area to mitigate the presence of this introduced species.
In the Los Gemelos, Park rangers found that petrels had returned to nests this year after decades of absence. Control of introduced species such as blackberry and guava has helped to restore petrel habitat, of which their are an estimated 8,500 pairs throughout the Archipelago.
The Galapagos petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia) is a small nocturnal species of seabird endemic to Galapagos which nests in the highlands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Isabela, Floreana and Santiago Islands that nest in wooded areas or in deep caves of wet zones. Petrels produce one egg a year and typically return to the same colony to nest each year. Currently this species is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Petrel nesting sites on the islands of Santa Cruz, Santiago and Floreana are located in an Area of Conservation under the new Zoning System of Protected Areas, increasing local protection for this species.
Content based on a press release from the Galapagos National Park, translated with their permission.