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Black-capped Petrel Moves Closer to Federal Protection

Date
June 25, 2012
Contact
Taylor Jones (303) 353-1490
In This Release
Wildlife

Monday, June 25, 2012
Black-capped Petrel Moves Closer to Federal Protection

Rare bird will be evaluated for Endangered Species Act listing
Contact: Taylor Jones (303) 353-1490

Washington,DC – The black-cappedpetrel, a rare seabird, took the first step toward protection under theEndangered Species Act (ESA) last week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS) determined that threats appear significant enough to begin a 12-monthreview of the species for possible listing under the ESA.

“We’re glad theUSFWS will consider these rare birds for listing,” said Taylor Jones,Endangered Species Advocates for WildEarth Guardians. “They face a myriad ofthreats and deserve the strongest protections we can give them.”

The black-cappedpetrel, named for its distinct black crown, nests in colonies with its nestsperched in crevices or burrows in steep mountain cliffs. There are only 12remaining breeding colonies, located in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The black-cappedpetrel is nocturnal, and feeds on squid and fish in its maritime foraginggrounds, centered in the South Atlantic Bightbetween North Carolina and Florida.

USFWS found thatthe black-capped petrel’s narrow foraging habitat is threatened by offshore energydevelopment. These birds are attracted to oily surfaces to feed, so an oilspill would be deadly for them. On land the species is threatened by habitatdestruction due to deforestation and agriculture. It faces predation byintroduced species such as cats, dogs, and opossums, and is also hunted forfood by local people. In addition, the birds may die from collisions with telecommunication infrastructure or structures associatedwith oilrigs. The USFWS, citing these threats, announced that the specieswarranted a 12-month review on June 21.

WildEarthGuardians petitioned this rare bird on September 1, 2011, the 97th anniversary ofthe death of “Martha,” the last passenger pigeon. The conservation groupcommemorates Passenger Pigeon Day every year by acting to advance protectionsfor imperiled birds.

“The passengerpigeon is gone but not forgotten,” said Jones. “Hopefully we can memorializeits passing by inspiring action for other bird species like the black-cappedpetrel so that they might avoid the passenger pigeon’s fate.”

Listing underthe ESA would help protect the species from threats such as off-shore energydevelopment. Listed migratory species that spend part of the year in the U.S.also benefit from the development of recovery plans under the ESA. Listingwould also support conservation efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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“We’re glad the USFWS will consider these rare birds for listing,” said Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocates for WildEarth Guardians. “They face a myriad of threats and deserve the strongest protections we can give them.”
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