Tristan da Cunha Wildlife News 2014
News of Tristan da Cunha's wildlife for 2014.

Important Discovery as
New Whale Species Found Beached on Tristan da Cunha

A juvenile Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis
was discovered on a Tristan beach in November 2014

Check out the full story on the
Whale News page
and find out more about all the
known Tristan Whales and Dolphins
on the Whales page.

Spectacular Prize for naming RIB Arctic Tern
Photos and Report from Tina Glass

A new Tristan Conservation Department RIB had been without a name, so school children were entered a competition to choose one. Callum Green won the competition with his choice of 'Arctic Tern'. His prize was the treat of a trip to Nightingale Island on the RIB. It was Callum's first visit to Nightingale Island as, like many of the younger generation he had never been to Nightingale.

Photos below show Calum aboard Arctic Tern off Nightingale Island and ashore by the sign describing Nightingale's wildlife.
See also the Inshore Shipping page for more photos of Callum on the RIB.

Mice predation causes devastating
Tristan Albatross breeding failure
on Gough Island

A report from
RSPB Senior Conservation Officer Dr Alex Bond
can be read on our separate Gough News page

Dr Alex Bond is one of four conservation workers undertaking projects 2014-15 in the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Alex is working with Greg McClelland on land-based work whilst Charles Kilgour and Rob Mrowicki are involved with marine research. We look forward to publishing more news of their work and there will also be an article in the next Tristan da Cunha Newsletter.
Alex Bond by a Tristan Albatross Chick
by its nest on Gough Island on 15th September 2015

2014 Conservation Work on Gough Island
Edited from a report on the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels Website www.acap with permission from ACAP’s Information Officer John Cooper who unusually will not take part in this year’s Gough expedition as he is attending ACAP meetings in Uruguay.

Another group of marine ornithologists are travelling to Gough Island to conduct research on its threatened populations of albatrosses and petrels. This year’s expedition sailed from Cape Town on 4th September on South Africa’s Antarctic research and supply vessel, MV SA Agulhas II.

As in previous years, seabird research and monitoring on Gough will concentrate on globally threatened species, including the near-endemic and Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena, the Endangered Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos and the Endangered Sooty Albatross Phoebastria fusca. All three ACAP-listed species face fatal attacks on their chicks by Gough’s “killer” House Mice Mus musculus). Research will also take place on the two other ACAP-listed species that breed on Gough: the Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus (Least Concern) and the Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea (Near Threatened).

Three field assistants on the expedition will remain on Gough until October 2015, residing in South Africa’s weather station on the island: Christopher Jones, Werner Kuntz and Michelle Risi. They will continue monitoring of albatrosses and petrels during their stay, as well as continuing with alien plant control in the vicinity of the weather station. Two field assistants, Delia Davis and Ben Dilley, who have spent a year on the island will return with the ship next month.

The ornithological component of the expedition is being led by Peter Ryan, Director of the University of Cape Town’s FitzPatrick Institute, with financial and logistic support from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and National Science Foundation via the South African National Antarctic Programme, the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and the Tristan Conservation Department (TCD).

In addition an aerial photographic survey by South African helicopter of Gough’s population of Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses is planned in September by Alex Bond of the RSPB’s new Centre for Conservation Science with financial support from the UK’s Darwin Initiative and ACAP. This will be the first-ever such survey, also planned for the main island of Tristan da Cunha, filling, if successful, a noticeable gap in the knowledge of the population size of this species, endemic to the Tristan islands. Alex and Trevor Glass, Head of the TCD, will join the expedition once the ship arrives at Tristan on its way to Gough.

South Atlantic Overseas Territories Regional Workshop Report
from JNCC Communications & Governance Adviser Maddy Long
on 20th June 2014

This week on Ascension Island experts from across the UK Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic attended a regional workshop which was co-hosted by the Ascension Island Government and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The workshop brought together delegates from the region to share all aspects of conservation expertise and experience, exploring opportunities for co-operation in Sustainable fisheries, Marine Protected Areas, biodiversity action planning, and seabird monitoring.

Fisheries managers from the Falklands, South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha presented case studies on sustainable fishing practices, highlighted lessons learnt and discussed best practice in the areas of enforcement, licensing and fisheries science. These were followed by a range of presentations and discussions where real opportunities to share expertise, equipment, and skills were explored.

The thirty workshop participants included Ascension Island Councillors, the Ascension Island Administrator, Directors of Fisheries from South Georgia, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, fisheries experts from the Falklands, St. Helena, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and JNCC.

The photo left shows James Glass (6th from left) with other participants.

James Glass, the Director of Fisheries on Tristan da Cunha who had been travelling since the end of May to attend the workshop, presented an overview of the fishery on Tristan and highlighted ‘this is the first ever regional workshop that has focussed on fisheries and the marine environment. It is a wonderful opportunity to share information, expertise and ideas with fellow islanders from the South Atlantic’


Diving Demonstration at St Mary's School by Darwin Plus Team
Report from Holly Latham and Photos from Jim Kerr

On 15th April Holly Latham and Rohan Holt, two divers working on the current Darwin Plus project “Sustainable Management of the Marine Environment and Resources of Tristan da Cunha” visited St Mary’s School to (hopefully!) inspire some budding young SCUBA divers and conservationists. Holly donned her full dive kit – dry suit and all! – to visit the classroom, while Rohan helped explain what all the various bits of diving equipment did. Items of diving equipment were tried on by all, with several pupils donning a dry suit and almost all having a go at breathing off a SCUBA regulator. Many of the pupils have had chance to swim in the rock pools and it is hoped that this introduction to SCUBA will help inspire some to take up diving and further investigate the unique marine environment around Tristan da Cunha as they get older.

See more photos of this successful event on the School News Page.

Tristan Underwater Event
Report from Holly Latham and Photos from Tina Glass

Holly Latham and Rohan Holt recently gave a presentation to the people of Tristan da Cunha on 1st April 2014 to illustrate their contributions to survey and marine biology at the world’s remotest island. The presentation started with a brief background to the two marine biologists, before moving quickly on to cover the January (and extended into February!) survey of Gough Island and some of the amazing species found there. Next an outline was given of the work being implemented and planned on Tristan and the ‘top’ islands, which helped explain to some of the islanders why buoys are popping up all around the Tristan coastline! It also highlighted the links between the work being completed and how this will increase the islanders’ understanding of the Tristan rock lobster, Jasus tristani, fishery to allow better management in the future. Attendees were taken on a virtual dive at Gough and on the wreck of the Oliva through footage taken on the dives and some of the risks to Tristan marine life – climate change, pollution, non-native species – were also highlighted. The presentation was given at the Post Office and Tourism Centre and was attended by a variety of islanders. Unfortunately the presentation day coincided with the occurrence of a calm and sunny day on Tristan preventing some of the community from attending as it was a fishing day, therefore it is intended that this presentation will be repeated in the Prince Philip Hall one evening in the near future.

Holly and Rohan are employed by the RSPB
and funding for their Tristan project
is from The Darwin Initiative

Holly and Rohan
are preparing an article
on their work for the August Tristan da Cunha Newsletter

Holly (left) and Nathan (right) address the gathering in the Post Office and Tourism Centre

More scenes during the presentation on 1st April 2014 by Holly Latham and Rohan Holt

Pioneering 2014
Gough Marine Survey

see - Gough Island 2014 Dives

Stranded beaked whale found near the Molly Gulch
on 9th March 2014 -

See the Whale News Page for details