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: US Calls For Protection For Seabirds in New Zealand, Fiji, Ecuador, New Guinea and Solomon Islands



From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 18, 2007 06:32 PM

US Calls For Protection For Seabirds in New Zealand, Fiji, Ecuador, New Guinea and Solomon Islands

Washington DC - Six species of seabirds native to New Zealand, Fiji, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands would be protected by the Endangered Species Act under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal published in today?s Federal Register.

The species proposed to be classified as endangered include the Chatham petrel (Pterodroma axillaris), and magenta petrel (Pterodroma magentae), of New Zealand, and the Fiji petrel (Pterodroma macgillivrayi), of Fiji. Cook's petrel (Pterodroma cookii), also of New Zealand; the Galapagos petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia), of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; and the Heinroth's shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi), native to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, are proposed to be classified as threatened.

All of the species live on the open sea, where they feed all year, returning to land only to breed, briefly nesting in colonies on islands.  The seabirds face a number of threats, notably from non-native predators such as rats and feral cats that have been introduced to their island breeding habitats, which have reduced their populations and increased the species' risk of extinction.

Listing of foreign species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act regulates the importation of either the animal or its parts.

In addition, the listing heightens awareness for conserving these species among foreign governments, conservation organizations and members of the public."Global conservation is a challenge that all of us in the Service accept and welcome," said Director Dale Hall.  "Combined with the impressive support of our partners, I know we're making an important difference."

The purpose of the proposed rule is to seek additional status information for the six seabird species from all available sources, including peer reviewers, scientific researchers, non-government organizations, government agencies, range countries and individuals.The Service will accept comments and materials concerning the proposed rule from interested parties for 90 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

Comments may be submitted at the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov.  (Follow the instructions on the Web page for submitting comments).  To deliver written comments by U.S. mail or hand-delivery,  address to:  Public Comments Processing,  Attn: RIN 11018-AV21, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, Virginia  22203. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas.  It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations.

The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.  It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.-FWS-For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov

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