EPIC continues to be a leading advocate for the conservation of the endangered Black-capped petrel in the Caribbean region. Our program for the species touches on all aspects of conservation for this seabird including searches for new nesting areas, monitoring of known nesting areas, working with communities to preserve petrel nesting habitat, incorporating petrel natural history into youth education programs, and celebrating the petrel with films and festivals. While 2020 has been a challenging year for all due to the global pandemic, EPIC, its partners, and the communities we work with have all continued to move forward in conserving the petrel and its habitat.
In early 2020, EPIC led an expedition to the island of Guadeloupe to search for new colonies of nesting Black-capped Petrels and had some promising observations using our radar unit. The team then traveled to the island of Dominica, where no nesting has been confirmed in decades, to follow-up on its 2015 searches for petrels. Again, our team had promising results with the radar as we observed petrel-like targets on the radar, flying at night over the island.
Our team of researchers in Haiti, led by Haiti Petrel Program Manager Anderson Jean, were able to monitor the health of two Black-capped petrel breeding colonies in the country. In La Visite National Park, the team is marking its third year, while in the Foret des Pins Forest Reserve, the team is marking their ninth year of petrel monitoring.
Our team of educators in Haiti, led by EPIC team members Tinio Louis and Rene Jeune, were unable to visit schools in person due to the pandemic. However, they pivoted and began to develop additional materials for youth environmental education by making audio and video recordings of their lessons, allowing teachers to continue sharing crucial environmental lessons even when teaching remotely.
Finally, we continue to work alongside other members of the Black-capped Petrel Conservation Working Group in updating the Black-capped Petrel Conservation Action Plan. We look forward to the release of this updated document that will help guide future conservation of this emblematic and inspiring species.