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Successful Breeding Season Ends

Last Mōlī fledgling preparing to leave refuge. PC: Michael Turk

Since 2015, James Campbell NWR in partnership with Pacific Rim Conservation, U.S. Navy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and American Bird Conservancy started to translocate at-risk mōlī or Laysan albatross from Kauai. Over four years, 47 chicks were successfully raised and fledged from James Campbell NWR. In addition, decoys and a sound system were installed to socially attract adult mōlī to the site. The site, consisting of 16 acres of quality seabird habitat has been protected by a mammalian exclusion fence since 2016. 2023 has turned out to be an exceptional nesting season for with nine nests laid, six of which have successfully hatched and fledged chicks!

Translocated ka‘upu chick checking out a decoy. PC: Pacific Rim Conservation

This project has snowballed to include translocations of ka‘upu or black-footed albatross, nunulu or Bonin petrel, and 'akihikeʻehiʻale or Tristram’s storm petrel from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. In total, over 550 seabirds have been translocated to James Campbell NWR to establish a new nesting colony that provides safe nesting habitat for these at-risk seabird species that are threatened by the effects of sea-level rise and climate change to the low-lying islands and atolls they nest on. Naturally, 'ua'u kani or wedge-tailed shearwater have begun to nest at this site as well with over 200 active burrows. With this diverse, growing population of seabirds, the Refuge is planning to expand the mammalian exclusion fence to protect 640 acres of coastal dune and shrub habitat and wetlands that will protect these seabird species as well as endangered Hawaiian waterbirds, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, threatened Hawaiian green turtles, endangered yellow-faced bees, and native plant species.

Mōlī incubating an egg at James Campbell NWR. PC: Kelly Goodale

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