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Audouin’s Gull Conservation Project Starts On-site!

  • January 31, 2017

İmplementation of oiled sticks

Project Team (Cemil Gürsel, Özgür Gökaşan, Damla Beton, Robin Snape)

Preparation of oiled sticks

Tunnels on the islands

Tunnels on the islands

Evidence of human activity on the islands

Time to go back

Mission accompished

Rat poison preparation

Tunnels on the islands

Rat poison (red) and oiled stick (white) points

For a decade, KUŞKOR have undertaken monitoring of the only colonies of Audouin’s Gull in Cyprus on the Kleides Islands, of the cape of the Karpaz Peninsula. Unfortunately the number of Audouin’s Gull nests has decreased by %85 in 9 years and last year just a handful of nests were recorded. So we have decided to increase our monitoring and to undertake studies toward understanding the problems faced by the colony as well as to prevent them. Click here for the details of our new project supported by North Cyprus Anglo-Turkish  Association (ATA).

We undertook our first on-site monitoring in January 2017 with a group of 4 people, aimed at detecting and understanding the presence of rats and mice in the islands and to decrease their number if need be. We have landed on the 3 major islands with the permission of the Department of Environmental Protection. We positioned oil soaked chew stakes in different spots and placed rat bait boxes, which will be checked for signs of rat presence/gnawing during a subsequent visit in February.

During our annual monitoring in previous years, we did not land on the islands so as not to disturb the animals during breeding. This year for the first time, we landed on the islands during the winter when the gulls are not breeding, in order to carry out rodent surveys. Interestingly, we have observed Mediterranean Shags – another species of conservation concern - hiding within tunnels made in the island’s unique vegetation. The fact that this collection of birds is found nesting only on these remote islands, far from humans, clearly demonstrates why humans musn’t be allowed on islands. Despite a recent ban on landing on the islands without permission, it is clear that human pressure is still an issue and that illegal landings continue. However, the policeman who monitors the Zafer Burnu police outpost did stop us to check our permission.

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