BirdLife Species Factsheet for Amsterdam Albatross Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis breeds only on Amsterdam Island (French Southern Territories) in the southern Indian Ocean. Snce 1994 it has been listed as Critically Endangered under criteria (B2ab(v); C2a(ii)), since it was estimated to have an extremely small population, with breeding confined to a tiny area on one island, and continuing declines projected owing to diseases causing chick mortality. However, the population has been steadily increasing since at least 1984, when the first census was carried out (Weimerskirch et al. 1997, Inchausti and Weimerskirch 2001, H. Weimerskirch in litt. 2005, 2010). There is now an estimated total population of c.170 birds including 80 mature individuals, with c.26 pairs breeding annually (Rains et al. 2011). The population is nevertheless considered to be smaller than historic levels, when it is thought to have had a more extensive breeding range over the slopes of the island (Weimerskirch et al. 1997). In addition, Amsterdam Albatross is believed to have suffered severe declines in the 1970s (perhaps owing to degradation of breeding sites by introduced cattle, human , introduced predators, particularly feral cats, and possibly interactions with longline fisheries around the island [Inchausti and Weimerskirch 2001]) and so, over three generations (c.82 years), has almost certainly declined overall. The primary future threat is thought to be the potential spread of diseases (avian cholera and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathidae) that affect the Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri population 3 km from the colony (Weimerskirch 2004), whilst the foraging range of the species overlaps with longline fishing operations targeting tropical tuna species, so bycatch may present a further threat (ACAP 2010). Nevertheless, given c.30 years of data showing a steady population increase (and no data from before this period), and the fact that projected continuing declines have not yet materialised, the species arguably does not qualify under criteria B2ab and C2a (both require a “continuing decline”). However, Amsterdam Albatross would qualify as Endangered under criterion D (total population numbering fewer than 250 mature individuals) if the population has numbered >50 mature individuals for at least five years. This seems plausible, but it is important to establish whether the species numbered fewer than 50 mature individuals at any point since 1988 (when the species was first assessed for the IUCN Red List). If so, when it is likely to have exceeded this threshold? This information is required in order to incorporate into the Red List Index (for all birds, and for ACAP-listed species specifically). Comments are invited on this proposal to downlist to Endangered, specifically whether a “continuing decline” should be projected on the basis of the risk of disease and/or bycatch, and whether the population has numbered fewer than 50 mature individuals at any point since 1988, and if so, when this threshold was exceeded. References ACAP. 2010. Species assessments: Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis. Downloaded from http://www.acap.aq on 22 March 2013. Inchausti, P.; Weimerskirch, H. 2001. Risks of decline and extinction of the endangered Amsterdam Albatross and the projected impact of long-line fisheries. Biological Conservation 100: 377-386. Rains D., Weimerskirch H., Burg T.M. 2011. Piecing together the global population puzzle of wandering albatrosses: genetic analysis of the Amsterdam albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis. Journal of Avian Bioiogy. 42: 69-79 Weimerskirch, H.; Brothers, N.; Jouventin, P. 1997. Population dynamics of Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans and Amsterdam Albatross D. amsterdamensis in the Indian Ocean and their relationships with long-line fisheries: conservation implications. Biological Conservation 79: 257-270. Weimerskirch, H. 2004. Diseases threaten Southern Ocean albatrosses. Polar Biology 27: 374-379.
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