Saving Fiji’s threatened seabirds

Saving Fiji’s threatened seabirds

The Delaisavu colony on Gau island is the world’s largest documented colony of the Collared petrel (Pterodroma brevipes). This year, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, Lomani Gau Initiative and Birdlife International continue our commitment to work with communities on Gau island and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation to reduce the threat of cat and rat predation on the Collared Petrel

Locally known as the Kacau vula or the Lagio in some parts of Fiji, NatureFiji-MareqetiViti has closely monitored the breeding burrows of Collared petrels on Gau island during breeding and nesting season since 2010. Consequently, this led to the first ever footage of Collared petrel chicks at their burrows in 2013. Additionally, trail camera footage in 2015 supported evidence that cats are a significant threat to this species.

Captured on trail camera on 25 May 2015.

Gau Island – a sanctuary for the Collared petrel

It is important to monitor Collared petrel burrows, birds, eggs and chicks. Beyond informing us of management strategies to save the Collared petrel, this “practice” will prepare the communities of Vione, Qarani, Navukailagi and Sawaieke for when a Fiji petrel burrow, bird, egg or chick is found.

The Collared petrels on Gau island were the first of its species (Pterodoma brevipes) to be tagged with a radio transmitter in our efforts to better understand how they move around the island in relation to their nesting burrows.

The first Collared Petrel in the world to be fitted with a radio transmitter
A Collared Petrel on Gau island, the first of this species – Pterodoma brevipes – to be fitted with a radio transmitter. You can read more about this here.

On Feb 20, 2022, Jake Taoi of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti and Melania Segaidina of BirdLife International departed for Gau island to continue the Delaisavu Collared petrel monitoring program with Navukailagi village. We hope that this will secure the Delaisavu colony as a safe haven for the Collared petrel.

Melania and Jake on their way to Gau Island.

Gau is Fiji’s 5th largest island. Curiously, one of the largest known population of the Collared petrel is located at Delaisavu ridge; 6km south east of Navukailagi village.

The team will hike for about 5km along Nukubolu creek before the 1km steep ascent from 10m ASL to 600m ASL where they will set base camp. Subsequently they will assess the Collared petrel population at Delaisavu ridge. Specifically, they seek evidence of breeding success and/ or predation by introduced mammalian predators.

Rats are managed by putting out rodenticide at strategic locations around vulnerable burrows and and sites.

For more information on our program on Gau Island, contact us: [email protected]

#lomanigau #conservationfiji #collaredpetrel #kacau #naturefiji #maraqetiviti #birdlife