Sooty Tern Population at Threat

The Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment alongside its partners Island Conservation Society ICS, Island Development Company IDC provided an update regarding the recent Sooty Tern census which ended late June. The census was conducted on nine island namely Cosmoledo, Desnoeufs, Bird Island, Etoile, Boudeuse, Aride, Recif, Ile aux Gaulette, and African Banks by a team of twenty people which ended 24th June

During a press conference Tuesday 20th July, the Director General for Conservation and Biodiversity from the Ministry of Environment Mrs. Marie-May Muzungaile stated while conducting the census they’ve identified certain challenges such as poaching, habitat, availability of food supply which are contributing towards the decline in this species population. She also highlighted one amongst the nine islands, “Boudeuse” does not have a nesting population of sooty tern but the presence of other sea birds.

The field data collected from the census are now being transcribed and compiled for further analysis and proper evaluation which will bring forward recommendation on how to manage this species.

“There are certain islands which have records of previous census conducted by ICS or the Ministry even though it is not completed, they are little snapshots which we can use to compare. Also, to note a census conducted back in 1999 will provide us a baseline for our analysis. To state, we are still working with people who was previously involved in the census on how we can overlay these data and give a better overview of the species population” Said Mrs. Muzungaile

The deputy CEO from Island Conservation Society, Mr. Shayne Emilie, stated that they provided the technical support to the Ministry while conducting this census. He also highlighted that they’ve also noticed a decline in sooty tern population, however they are still actively engaged in research on different species not only Sooty Terns on other Islands which are under the management of IDC including Aride.

“Aride is the only granitic island whereby sooty tern is nesting on hill top. We often prepare the area and remove certain vegetation to allow the sooty tern to nest. There are two scientist Christ Feare and Richard Bristol  involved in the installation of geolocators on these islands to tract the global movement of this species, this research will help determine the general population of sooty tern globally,” said Mr. Emilie.

The deputy CEO of IDC Mr. Christian Lionnet, declared which ever policy recommendation arise from this census, we manage 14 islands which belongs to the Government, our mandate ensure sustainability practices.

He further added that IDC recognizes the natural environment gives value to these islands, and will support the Ministry of Environment in conducting future census to ensure sustainable decisions.