22 Jul 2011

Stamps raise funds for threatened Henderson Petrel

By Adrian Long
A new stamp issue focuses on the endemic birds of the Henderson Island and will help raise funds for the RSPB’s (BirdLife in the UK) project to save the Henderson Petrel. See and buy stamps. Henderson Island is in trouble and needs help. The RSPB’s Henderson Island Restoration Project plans to eradicate introduced rats that are driving the Henderson Petrel towards extinction. Over 95% of petrel chicks on Henderson are killed by rats within one week of hatching - over 25,000 chicks every year. Sir David Attenborough  says of the project: We now have an opportunity to rid Henderson forever of the rats and ensure the island remains a natural jewel. I am sure that you share my concern for Henderson Island’s exceptional wildlife and you will want to ensure its survival. With your help, it will be secure for generations to come.” Henderson Island is part of the Pitcairn Group in the Pacific Ocean. In August the RSPB operational vessel will be at Henderson, carrying two helicopters that will use GPS technology to drop poison bait across the entire island. This highly targeted, short-term intervention will bring really long-term benefits: the Henderson petrel saved from its slide towards extinction, a large island restored and at least ten further unique species safeguarded for future generations to enjoy. The overall cost of the eradication project is in the region of GBP £1.5 – 1.7m. Buying stamps will help towards these costs. With four endemic bird species, eight snails and nine plants found nowhere else in the world, Henderson is also home to marine turtles and twelve different seabird species, including four types of petrel. It is a World Heritage site. This stamp issue focuses on the rare endemic birds, namely the Henderson Crake Porzana atra ; the Henderson Fruit-dove Ptilinopus insularis ; the Henderson Reed-warbler Acrocephalus taiti ; the Henderson Lorikeet Vini stephani and gives special attention to the Henderson Petrel Pterodroma atreta. Click here to subscribe to The BirdLife Pacific Quarterly E-Newsletter.