|Central coordinates||148o 20.08' East 39o 56.91' South|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4ii|
|Altitude||0 - 200m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2009|
Summary The three granite islands in the Babel Island Group support more than 1% of the world's Short-tailed Shearwater and Little Penguin.
Site description The Babel Island Group IBA consists of Babel, Cat and Storehouse islands, east of Flinders Island in Bass Strait. These are granite islands with sandy soil, dominated by the grass Poa poeformis. Babel Island is owned by the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and is much larger (441 ha) than Cat and Storehouse Islands, both of which are Conservation Areas. The central hill at Babel Island slopes gently to the shoreline, where there are two large beaches, a sandy spit at the southwest side, and several buildings at West Beach, the Gulch, South East Beach and along the east coast. Cat Island (39 ha) is flat, with steep cliffs on the east side; and Storehouse Island (20 ha) has a gently undulating landscape.
Key Biodiversity 1585 pairs of Crested Tern and 29 pairs of Sooty Oystercatcher. Peregrine Falcon breeds at Babel Island. Cat Island has a pair of Hooded Plover and is important as a site for the potential re-colonisation of Australasian Gannet, though nesting habitat has not fully recovered from a very destructive fire in 1984, when the impressive 5000-10000 birds found here in 1908, and 1000 in 1938, had already declined to a very small colony. Deployment of decoys since 1988 has not been successful but manual re-colonisation of reared chicks is being considered.
Non-bird biodiversity: Bennett's Wallaby, Tasmanian Pademelon, Water Rat, Metallic Skink, Three-lined Skink, White's Skink, Blue-tongued Lizard and Tiger Snake are some of the other animals recorded, mostly at Babel Island. Vegetation is dominated by Poa poiformis, Rhagodia candolleana, Tetragonia implexicoma, Atriplex cinerea and areas of scrub (especially myrtaceous species).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Little Penguin Eudyptula minor||resident||1986||33,743 breeding pairs||-||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris||resident||1986||3,113,600-3,428,794 breeding pairs||-||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Pacific Gull Larus pacificus||resident||1986||50-62 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|2008||high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Biological resource use||fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Biological resource use||hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target)||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Human intrusions and disturbance||recreational activities||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases||invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Cat Island||Conservation Area||30||protected area contained by site||30|
|Storehouse Island||Conservation Area||27||protected area contained by site||198|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Coastline||Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets||100%|
Land ownership Cat Island and Storehouse Island are Conservation Areas; Babel Island is owned by the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: commercial 'muttonbirding'|
Protection status Cat Island and Storehouse Island are Conservation Areas.
Access/Land-Owner requests Permission should be sought from the Tasmanian Aboriginal community or DPIW before visiting these islands.
Acknowledgements Rachael Alderman and Rosemary Gales of DPIW kindly commented on the nomination. The nomination was prepared by Peter Britton.
References Brothers, N., Pemberton, D., Pryor, H. & Halley, V. (2001). Tasmania's Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art gallery: Hobart.
Phillipps, H. (1993). Last chance for Cat Island. Wingspan 9: 4-6.
Skira, I.J., Brothers, N.P. & Pemberton, D. (1996). Distribution, abundance and conservation status of Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris in Tasmania, Australia. Marine Ornithology 24: 1-14.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Babel Island Group. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/10/2015
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