Dec 18, 2011

Two Fiji petrels caught in Gau

Two Fiji petrels or Kacau ni Gau - recently landed in Nawaikama Village in Gau.

 Interview: Hadoram Shirihai and Tony Pym of the Fiji Petrel expedition
Fiji Petrel. First photograph. The Tubenose project. Hadoram Shirihai

The birds landed exactly a month apart.

For NatureFiji-Mareqeti Viti - the species guardian - this is an extraordinary occurrence - given that the petrels were last sighted in May.

The first bird landed on the night of October 29th.

NatureFiji -Mareqeti Viti Field Manager Eleazar O'Connor inspected the bird and made weight and height measurements.

And - for the first time - a metal tag was attached to the bird's foot with a serial number on it before it was released.

The tag will help identify the bird if it’s found somewhere else.

This was also done to the second petrel which landed on the night of November 29th.

On record - this is the 18th petrel caught so far.

The population of Fiji Petrel is unknown, but believed to be fewer than 50 pairs, and potentially declining due to predation by cats, rats and feral pigs.

The critically endangered species survives and breeds only in Gau - after it was initially found in 1855.