Beck's Petrel (Pseudobulweria becki)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 192521748
Beck's Petrel: implementing the species action plan with local communities
Beck's Petrel is an enigmatic seabird known only from Papua New Guinea. "Lost" for 75 years it was rediscovered in 2007 but it's breeding grounds remain unknown. Owing to the threat posed by invasive mammalian predators at so many petrel colonies worldwide, our conservation science has focussed on unravelling this mystery. We want to find the breeding grounds and properly assess the species' status and the threats it faces.
Having identified an area where the birds aggregate in southern New Ireland, in 2017 we fitted one bird with a satellite tag and released it. This has provided a host of information about it's foraging and seasonal movements, and importantly an area in the montane interior of the island to search.
Now the project is focussing on building the community support, awareness and buy-in to the project, and the institutional links within Papua New Guinea that will be needed to develop a conservation programme that benefits the local communities and the amazing environment of New Ireland. With incredible forest supporting a wealth of other threatened and endemic species we hope Beck's Petrel will become a flagship for conservation in the area. The satellite tracks revealed what a classic sea to summit species it is - a totem for protection against the insidious threats from logging, oil palm expansion and mining.
The specific objectives of our project are to:
- Find and survey the first colony of Beck’s Petrels;
- Assess threats within a colony with a focus on invasive species;
- Deploy satellite tags on Beck’s Petrels to improve understanding of movements and identify other potential colony locations;
- Complete the first data-driven population estimate for the species;
- Provide training to students/scientists in PNG in marine survey techniques;
- Hold community meetings in southern New Ireland to identify high conservation values locally and to convey the national and international significance of the Beck’s Petrel population;
- Feed information on terrestrial and marine sites of importance to Beck’s Petrel and other biodiversity to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority in PNG and New Ireland Provincial Government to support protected area designation.
Project 192521748 location - Papua New Guinea, Oceania