Press Release from St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA)
ORANJESTAD — For the past six months STENAPA has been conducting a breeding success and predation study on Red-billed Tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus). National Park Ranger Hannah Madden and National Park intern Andrew Ellis have visited over 100 nests across the island every week in order to collect data that will help assess the overall status of this seabird. The results of this project will be announced in July, however the preliminary results show that predation levels are relatively low compared with Saba, which suffered losses of 100% of eggs/chicks in one nesting site during a similar survey in 2011/2012. This is important for the survival of Red-billed Tropicbirds since it is estimated that at least 20% of the worldwide population of these birds nest on Saba and St Eustatius.
It would not have been possible to conduct this survey without the cooperation of NuStar, who allowed access to two main nesting sites on Pilot Hill and Pilot Ridge. Additonally, NuStar has funded the purchase of ten Reconyx cameras and a laptop for data storage. The cameras are installed outside various nests in order to capture photos of potential predators. Some images of cats and rats have been captured, however their numbers are relatively low. NuStar has also sponsored Madden’s travel to attend a regional bird workshop in Grenada at the end of July, where she may present the results of this project.
STENAPA is extremely grateful to NuStar for their generous support of this project and wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the company. Without their cooperation it would not have been possible to conduct such a thorough survey of the sites. A public presentation will be held early July to inform interested parties of the results of this project.
Photo: NuStar employees handing over a check to National Ranger Hannah Madden to attend a workshop in Grenada. Madden is holding the laptop purchased by STENAPA thanks to a financial donation by NuStar. Intern Andrew Ellis is holding two of the ten Reconyx field cameras also purchased from the donation.