Scott Islands Archipelago, British Columbia, Canada
Located off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, the Scott Islands support the largest concentration of breeding seabirds in the eastern North Pacific south of Alaska and are considered to be the most important seabird breeding colonies in British Columbia.
Over 2 million seabirds, 40% of the Province’s breeding seabird populations, nest on the islands, including: 55% of the world’s population of Cassin’s Auklet; 7% of the world’s population of Rhinoceros Auklet; and 2% of the world’s population of Tufted Puffin, which also comprises 90% of the national population for this species. The islands also support 95% of the Province’s breeding Common Murres, the only known nesting site of Thick-billed Murres in Western Canada, and a small nesting population of Horned Puffins, which represents the southern limit of this species. In total, 7 of the 12 seabirds breeding on the Scott Islands are designated as species of provincial concern. Because of their significance for seabirds, the Scott Islands are recognized internationally as a globally Important Bird Area (Birdlife International IBA designation).
If the Scott Islands archipelago and surrounding waters are viewed as single unit, it is a highly productive foraging and breeding area for seabirds and other marine species. For example, Environment Canada’s website states that the Scott Islands Archipelago is one of the single most vital locations in all of the Northwest Pacific Ocean ecosystem not just a national treasure, but an international obligation for Canada on the global environmental stage.
Most seabirds are currently breeding on only 10% of the available land mass of the archipelago. Despite the availability of suitable habitat, limited seabird breeding occurs on the remaining 90% of the archipelago land mass (Lanz and Cox islands) due to the presence of introduced invasive mink and raccoon. These non-native invasive predators have caused the complete loss of pelagic seabird colonies, including the extirpation of the islands’ Cassin’s and Rhinoceros Auklet colonies and have contributed to the destabilization of the islands’ ecosystems.
Coastal Conservation, in consultation with the Quatsino First Nation, the Tlatlatsikwala First Nation, Ministry of Environment (BC Parks and Environmental Stewardship Division), Environment Canada, and Island Conservation is undertaking the restoration of seabird colonies on Lanz and Cox islands by completely removing introduced American mink and raccoon.
Feasibility plan completed, operational plan in development and fundraising underway.
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