“Conserving the Diablotin” informed by a decade of exploration and research
January 28, 2022—The Endangered Black-capped Petrel is a seabird so secretive that ten years ago, only one active nest had ever been located and monitored.
Despite this tremendous gap in knowledge, the International Black-capped Petrel Conservation Group created an action plan in 2012 to guide the conservation of this rare seabird. Now, after a decade of searches, studies, and management actions, producing tremendous advancements in our understanding of this species, partners have released a new guide to empower petrel conservationists. The recently released “Conserving the Diablotin: Black-capped Petrel Conservation Update and Action Plan” lays out nine strategies to enable conservation and address threats to the species and its habitat.
The Black-capped Petrel is the rarest nesting seabird in the Caribbean, with only an estimated 2,000 breeding pairs remaining worldwide. Conservationists have now located more than 100 nests on the island of Hispaniola, and found evidence of smaller populations possibly breeding on Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Cuba. Once common in the Caribbean, the species’ population was decimated over the past two centuries by overhunting, the introduction of mammalian predators, and the destruction of its forested nesting habitat. Predation and habitat loss continue to threaten the species; just this past season, a number of petrels were killed and nests lost due to predators and habitat destruction.
"The release of the updated Conservation Plan for the Black-capped Petrel is a game-changer for petrel conservation. Based on data collected by EPIC and other foundations over the past decade, our team has crafted a road map towards the protection of the petrel with a goal of providing safe habitat for nesting, feeding, and migrating birds. This document is a shining example of how collaboration, dedication, science, and passion can lead to the protection of rare and endangered species such as the Black-capped Petrel" said EPIC Co-Founder and Program Manager, Adam Brown who oversees the petrel research, education and sustainable farming program in partnership with the EPIC team in Haiti.
The core team that authored “Conserving the Diablotin” come from a varied group of organizations, including BirdsCaribbean, Clemson University, Cornell University, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, Grupo Jaragua, and American Bird Conservancy. The authors drew on the expertise of a long list of collaborators from around the world and applied lessons learned from a number of successful projects with related species facing similar conservation problems.