BirdLife’s Seabird Tracking Database breaks new record

An unsuspecting Southern Giant Petrel has become the ten millionth record to be added to BirdLife’s Seabird Tracking Database – a significant and impressive milestone for the partnership, worthy of celebration.  The database was established by BirdLife in 2003 and has since grown into one of the largest conservation collaborations in the world, enabling scientists and policymakers to better understand and protect seabirds.  By gathering and sharing seabird observation and tracking data in a central repository, the whole research community has been able to develop a comprehensive approach to tackling the major conservation problems faced by seabirds, from tackling seabird bycatch by the fishing industry to designating marine protected areas across the globe.  Development of the Seabird Tracking Database is a key activity for BirdLife within GOBI’s work under the International Climate Initiative (IKI), and leads the way in the consolidation of information relevant to the preservation of seabirds in the Indian Ocean.

The Seabird Tracking Database has reached 10 million data points. Image courtesy BirdLife/David Grem

Since 2016, more than 100 new marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) have been identified, with the objective to protect special sites for more than 90 seabird species.  Most of these sites could be pinpointed thanks to seabird tracking data.  IBAs have also played an important role in informing the location and importance of EBSAs, which in turn safeguard the integrity of countless other marine habitats and ecosystems.  Many more seabird hotspots are still to be found.

With the Southern Giant Petrel distributed across the entire Southern Ocean, it is likely that the ten millionth record won’t be its last.  Read the full story on BirdLife’s momentous achievement here.