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Joining forces to increase monitoring capabilities of Townsend´s Shearwater in the Revillagigedo Archipelago

Fern Davies

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Townsend´s Shearwater (Puffinus a. auricularis) is the most critically endangered seabird in the Americas and survives only on Socorro Island, located in the  Revillagigedo Archipelago Biosphere Reserve. This assemblage is composed of three islands and an islet, located in the Pacific Ocean, 720 miles of Manzanillo, Colima.

Decades ago this bird also lived in Clarion and San Benedicto Islands that form part of the protected area, but pigs, sheep and rabbits and the eruption of the Barcena volcano decimated colonies in those places. Currently, it only nests on Socorro Island near the mountain top

Led by Juan Martínez and Rafael Villegas from the Institute of Ecology AC, Patricia Escalante, from the Institute of Biology of the UNAM,  and Cesar Tejeda, from Endémicos Insulares AC, their teams are joining forces to increase the monitoring coverage that was started more than a decade ago.


Shearwaters are seabirds, but during their reproductive period spend several months on land. At night, they travel from the sea to nesting areas to avoid being detected by potential predators.

Field data to monitor for density, activity patterns and movements is gathered by using automated acoustic systems and radar technology in different regions. This information will enable the researchers to get a better estimate of its population size.


These teams are also providing with artificial burrows in order to help shearwaters to increase their nest success. These activities are carried out as quietly as possible to avoid affecting their survival and are authorized by the Wildlife Department and the Navy.


With this collaboration, the institutions involved acknowledge their commitment to prevent the extinction of this critically endangered species and contribute to the conservation of Mexico´s natural heritage .



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