Target: Máximo Pacheco, Chile’s Minister of the Environment
Goal: Create wildlife reserves to protect the habitat of this endangered coastal bird.
Only a few thousand of the Peruvian tern, or gaviotín chico, remain, and one naturalist is pushing for the creation of reserves to protect this vulnerable species. One of the world’s smallest species of tern, the bird has proven itself to be adaptable. They have been spotted fishing and eating around docks, ports, and even swimmers. They even appear to be comfortable nesting in noisy airports – much to the surprise of local conservationists.
However, human activity along the strip of coastline where the birds like to nest has caused their populations to decline. Meanwhile, the birds’ habit of making their nests in the rocky desert along the coast makes them vulnerable to predators such as foxes and feral cats. Conservation efforts have aided the tracking and study of these birds and succeeded in the protection of several nesting sites. However, greater protection of their habitat is the next step to ensuring these unique birds do not disappear forever.
One important action needed to save the terns is to protect greater areas of their habitat. According to naturalist and ornithologist Jürgen Rottmann, the executive manager of the Fundación Para la Sostenibilidad del Gaviotín Chico that protects the tern’s nesting sites, at least two new clusters of reserves in northern Chile are needed. In his recent interview in National Geographic News, he says that these birds symbolize the resilience of wildlife under the harshest conditions and advocates for education beyond the reserves, so locals and tourists know to respect the terns by keeping their trash and dogs out of the terns’ desert home.
Please sign the petition below and push for the creation of these reserves so that these birds can survive as a species.
Dear Minister Pacheco,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to the endangered Peruvian tern, gaviotín chico, or as it is known locally, the chirrío, of which only a few thousand individuals remain. Human activity close to their coastal habitat, from pollution in the form of trash to destruction of their nests by off-roading vehicles, has caused their numbers to drop, even while conservation efforts have aided in protecting their nesting sites and in tracking and monitoring the birds.
The chirrío has proven itself to be adaptable. It has taken to fishing and eating around humans and even nests around noisy airports. One of the world’s smallest terns, it chooses to nest in the rocky, harsh climate of the desert and represents the resilience of nature in the unlikeliest of places. I urge you to consider further protecting the chirrío’s habitat through the creation of two reserves in northern Chile. Please use your leadership to ensure these iconic birds may survive for future generations to know them and appreciate them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jwcf via Wikimedia Commons