Westland petrel threats better understood

Westland petrel. Photo: Rod MorrisThe threats to Westland petrels are many and diverse, not least among them being the tiny breeding area.

Dr Susan Waugh, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Kerry-Jayne Wilson, Chair and Scientist of the West Coast Penguin Trust, collaborated on a paper published in the journal Marine Ornithology recently.  The paper, titled “Threats and Threat Status of the Westland Petrel”, assesses the range of threats, at sea and on land, natural and man-made.  

They argue that the NZ threat status assessment should be revised as a result of their findings, not least among which is the fact that the breeding habitat is only about .16 square kilometres, and vulnerable to landslips and extreme climate events as well as degradation due to introduced browsing mammals. 

The IUCN red list threat status is ‘Endangered’, the second tier on the threatened species status hierarchy.  In New Zealand, the status is ‘At Risk – Naturally Uncommon’, seventh on the hierarchy.  

The paper is available as a pdf to download here: Waugh-Wilson-Westland petrel threats-Marine-Ornithology Oct 2018