Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 2, pp 385–394 | Cite as

Tropical Shearwater population stability at Reunion Island, despite light pollution

  • Benoit Gineste
  • Mathieu Souquet
  • François-Xavier Couzi
  • Yannick Giloux
  • Jean-Sébastien Philippe
  • Cedric Hoarau
  • Julie Tourmetz
  • Gaël Potin
  • Matthieu Le Corre
Original Article

Abstract

Seabirds are exposed to numerous threats at sea and on land, and they are among the most endangered birds worldwide. Procellariids are attracted by artificial light, and this causes massive fallout at various places of the world. In Reunion Island, Tropical Shearwaters Puffinus bailloni are heavily impacted by light pollution. To assess the population trends of this species, we conducted two large-scale acoustic surveys across the island (in 1996/1997 and in 2013/2015) and analysed the numbers of birds attracted by lights and rescued by the local wildlife rescue center between 1996 and 2015. We detected 220 colonies in 2013/2015, including 124 colonies previously surveyed in 1996/97 and 96 newly discovered colonies. The average vocal activity recorded at colonies was similar during the two surveys suggesting no marked change in population size. Some 13,200 Tropical Shearwaters were found grounded since 1996 due to light attraction, of which 88 % were successfully released. The number of reported grounded birds increased 19-fold between 1996 and 2015. This increase was due to a combination of factors that are difficult to disentangle: (1) increasing public awareness; (2) increasing light pollution; and (3) the absence of population collapse. Indeed, both acoustic surveys and the number of rescued birds indicate that the Tropical Shearwater population of Reunion Island did not decline between 1996/1997 and 2013/2015. We suggest that the rescue campaigns conducted annually strongly contributed to this stability. Thus, we recommend maintaining the rescue operations, but also to reduce light pollution.

Keywords

Acoustic survey Light management Puffinus bailloni Population trend Rescue campaign Reunion Island 

Zusammenfassung

Tropensturmtaucherpopulation auf Réunion stabil trotz Lichtverschmutzung

Seevögel sind auf See und an Land einer Vielzahl von Gefährdungen ausgesetzt und gehören zu einer der am stärksten bedrohten Vogelgruppen weltweit. Procellariidae werden von künstlichen Lichtquellen angelockt, was an verschiedenen Orten weltweit zu einer großen Zahl an Strandungen führt. Auf Réunion sind Tropensturmtaucher Puffinus bailloni stark von Lichtverschmutzung betroffen. Zur Bestimmung des Populationstrends der Art führten wir zwei großflächige akustische Erfassungen der gesamten Insel durch (1996/1997 und 2013/2015) und analysierten darüber hinaus die Anzahl an Vögeln, die im Zeitraum zwischen 1996 und 2015 vom Licht angelockt und von der Wildtierrettungsstation vor Ort rehabilitiert wurden. In den Jahren 2013/2015 erfassten wir 220 Kolonien einschließlich der 124 zuvor in den Jahren 1996/1997 erfassten Kolonien und 96 neu entdeckten Kolonien. Die durchschnittliche Rufaktivität war während der beiden Erfassungen vergleichbar hoch, weshalb davon ausgegangen werden kann, dass keine merkliche Veränderung in der Populationsgröße stattgefunden hat. Seit 1996 wurden ungefähr 13.200 durch Lichtverschmutzung gestrandete Tropensturmtaucher aufgefunden, von denen 88 % erfolgreich rehabilitiert wurden. Die Anzahl Meldungen gestrandeter Vögel stieg zwischen 1996 und 2015 um das neunzehnfache. Dieser Anstieg beruhte auf einer Kombination von Faktoren, die schwer voneinander zu trennen sind: (1) erweitertes Bewusstsein in der Öffentlichkeit; (2) zunehmende Lichtverschmutzung und (3) ein fehlender Zusammenbruch der Population. Tatsächlich deuten sowohl die akustischen Erfassungen als auch die Zahl rehabilitierter Vögel darauf hin, dass die Tropensturmtaucherpopulation auf Réunion zwischen 1996/1997 und 2013/2015 nicht zurückging. Wir schließen daraus, dass die jährlich durchgeführten Rettungsaktionen maßgeblich zu dieser Stabilität beisteuern. Daher schlagen wir vor, die Rettungsaktionen fortzuführen, jedoch darüber hinaus auch die Lichtverschmutzung zu reduzieren.

Supplementary material

10336_2016_1396_MOESM1_ESM.docx (137 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 136 kb)
10336_2016_1396_MOESM2_ESM.docx (335 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 335 kb)
10336_2016_1396_MOESM3_ESM.docx (207 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 207 kb)
10336_2016_1396_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (338 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 338 kb)

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benoit Gineste
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mathieu Souquet
    • 2
  • François-Xavier Couzi
    • 3
  • Yannick Giloux
    • 2
  • Jean-Sébastien Philippe
    • 2
  • Cedric Hoarau
    • 2
  • Julie Tourmetz
    • 3
  • Gaël Potin
    • 1
  • Matthieu Le Corre
    • 1
  1. 1.UMR ENTROPIESaint-Denis MessagFrance
  2. 2.BIOTOPESaint-AndréFrance
  3. 3.SEOR (Société d’Etudes Ornithologiques de La Réunion)Saint-AndréFrance

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