Article

Protection of marine birds and turtles at St Brandon’s Rock, Indian Ocean, requires conservation of the entire atoll

Published in: African Journal of Marine Science
Volume 38, issue 3, 2016 , pages: 317–327
DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2016.1198720
Author(s): SW EvansResearch Unit: Environmental Sciences and Management, South Africa, N ColeDurrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Channel Islands, H KylinResearch Unit: Environmental Sciences and Management, South Africa, NS Choong Kwet YiveDepartment of Chemistry,, V TatayahMauritian Wildlife Foundation, Mauritius, J MervenRaphael Fishing Co. Ltd, Mauritius, H BouwmanResearch Unit: Environmental Sciences and Management, South Africa

Abstract

A survey of seabirds and turtles at St Brandon’s Rock, 400 km north of Mauritius, was undertaken in 2010. We estimated that 1 084 191 seabirds comprising seven breeding species and excluding non-breeders were present at the archipelago and we counted 279 turtle tracks and nesting pits of green turtles Chelonia mydas. Hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata were also present. Analyses of 30 different islets that make up the atoll showed that the seabird species mostly partitioned their use of islets based on islet size, with four species preferring larger islets and two species preferring smaller islets. Alien species introduced historically are still present and other threats, such as shipwrecks, remain. We propose conservation and other measures that should adequately protect the birds, turtles and coral reef by treating the atoll as a system.

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