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2012-01-12
Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles – “Astounding results”.


Over an 11-month study period during 2009 and 2010, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean’s, [EPIC’s] partners Katharine and David Lowrie, sailed 3,162 nautical miles, surveying by land and/or sea 200 islands capable of supporting seabirds, with each island surveyed in the winter breeding season and again during the summer. Visiting remote islands that few other sailors will venture near, the study was dubbed by the sailing community as, “a survey of the worst anchorages of the Caribbean.”

They documented new seabird-colony Important Bird Areas, finding previously undocumented colonies and colonies thought to be extirpated. The area stretches in an arc from Anguilla to Grenada.

Globally, seabirds are among the most threatened of bird groups, with 80% of seabird species in decline. Prior to European contact, it is believed there were tens of millions of seabirds breeding in the Caribbean region, now there are under two million.

The EPIC Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles reveals that four of the 18 species recorded are present at globally significant levels. It also reports that Bottowia IBA (St Vincent and the Grenadines), followed by Dog Island IBA (Anguilla), are the most important individual islands for globally-significant seabird colonies in the eastern Caribbean.

One of the distressing discoveries of the study, however, was the extent to which egg collection and hunting for seabird chicks and adults still persists throughout the island chain.

The EPIC Atlas provides vital data on this poorly studied group of birds. It includes species accounts for all 18 species; island accounts including abundance and distribution of breeding colonies and threats; detailed methods and data analysis and discussion of the priority breeding sites and species of concern in the study area.

EPIC’s Atlas is available from the Create Space online store https://www.createspace.com/3565696 as well as Amazon.com


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