Populations of the Black-capped Petrel, one of the most endangered Caribbean seabird species, have been in a steep decline over the last 50 years. It is estimated that only 1,000-2,000 pairs of petrels remain. Although they historically nested on islands in the Lesser Antilles, they are currently known to nest only on the island of Hispaniola. The dire conservation status of the Black-capped Petrel has prompted its listing by various authorities as Endangered (IUCN 2011) and Critically Endangered by the Society for the Study and Conservation of Caribbean Birds (Schreiber and Lee 2000). In addition, the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan considers the species to be Highly Imperiled, making it an official “Focal Species” of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Radar surveys during 2012-2017 conducted by EPIC scientists, within the Dominican Republic mountain ranges, successfully located previously unrecorded flight corridors and nesting areas. Additionally, we established the first ever baseline population indexes for petrel activity centers throughout the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, using this data, EPIC successfully mapped all known flight corridors and nest locations in the Dominican Republic and used this data to prioritize areas of critical importance to the species. Radar data collected during 2012-2017 allowed EPIC and our conservation partners to better understand the timing and movements of petrels in and around the nesting areas in the Dominican Republic. This data is also being used by the international Black-capped Petrel Working Group in drafting updates to the conservation plan to protect this imperiled species from extinction.