Home Sci-TechEnvironment Seychelles: Census Shows Decline in Population of Sooty Terns Nesting in Seychelles

Seychelles: Census Shows Decline in Population of Sooty Terns Nesting in Seychelles

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Preliminary results from a national census show a general decline in the colony size of sooty terns nesting in Seychelles, as the species continues to face a number of challenges.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment in partnership with the Islands Development Company (IDC) and Island Conservation Society (ICS) carried out the census between June 1 and June 24.

The census was held with the aim of determining the bird’s population, size and distribution of colonies in Seychelles. It also aimed at establishing the level of egg harvesting in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

To support the implementation of the census and ensure that correct information is collected, the Ministry declared 2021 as a closed season for birds’ eggs collection, effective since June 1.

The director general at the Biodiversity, Conservation and Management Division at the ministry, Marie-May Muzungaile, said the team of 20 carried out the census on nine islands where there are known nesting colonies of sooty terns. These include Cosmoledo, Desnoeufs, Bird, Aride, Recif, Farquhar, Etoile, Boudeuse and African Banks.

“Preliminary results show that there are still a lot of challenges affecting the species, and this still includes poaching incidents, pressure on the quality of the habitat that the birds nest in as well as the availability of food in these areas,” said Muzungaile.

She added that preliminary results also show that “eight out of nine islands on which we carried out the census, there is still a population of sooty tern nesting there.” No sign of a sooty tern colony was found on Boudeuse.