Protect Critically Endangered Argentinian Bird

Target: The National Secretariat of Tourism of Argentina

Goal: Urge Argentine officials to stop introducing carnivorous fish to Lake Strobel in order to save critically endangered Hooded Grebes.

The Hooded Grebe is a gregarious and peaceful freshwater diving bird that inhabits southeastern Argentina in the region of Patagonia. Tragically, the population of Hooded Grebes is rapidly declining due to predators brought into the area by humans. The decline of Hooded Grebes has been observed in their absences from former breeding sites. The species is classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

On the Strobel Plateau of Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of the main threats to endangered Hooded Grebes is fish stocking of alien rainbow trout and salmon. These exotic fish species have been introduced to Lake Strobel for recreational fishing and aquaculture activity. The large carnivorous game fish prey on Hooded Grebe chicks (and sometimes adults) and compete with the grebe population for food resources. The farming of salmonids has polluted the lake with large amounts of fish waste. Other keen predators such as Kelp Gulls have been attracted to the area by aquaculture, chasing away Hooded Grebes from their critical breeding territory.

The introduction of these exotic fish has reduced Hooded Grebe breeding by more than 98 percent in the last 25 years. In addition to reducing food sources, the presence of trout and salmon leads to changes in the turbidity of the water, preventing the growth of filamentous plants that provide nesting material for all water birds breeding in this area.

The correlation between the introduction of alien fish and a decline in Hooded Grebe breeding numbers suggests that further fish stocking of Lake Strobel must be restricted in order to save these endangered birds. Urge officials in Argentina to prioritize the restoration of the Strobel Plateau by taking measures to reduce the numbers of introduced trout and salmon in Lake Strobel.


Dear National Secretariat of Tourism of Argentina,

In order to retain the environmental integrity of the beautiful Patagonian region and save Hooded Grebes from extinction, Argentina must take measures to reduce aquaculture in the Strobel Plateau. The introduction of rainbow trout and salmon in Strobel Lake has devastated the population of Hooded Grebes, a now critically endangered species. The carnivorous fish prey on Hooded Grebe chicks and fishery waste is an abundant food source for Kelp Gulls, another predator of the endangered birds.

Stocking the lake with alien fish negatively affects its native species composition and their abundance and behavior, as well as nutrient cycles and primary production. Pollution from salmonid farming has changed the limnological properties of Lake Strobel, preventing aquatic plant growth that feeds invertebrate prey of Hooded Grebes and other waterbirds, who also depend on filamentous plants for nesting materials.

I urge Argentina to put an end to fish stocking in Lake Strobel in order to protect Hooded Grebes from further harm. Please continue to work with your cities’ mayors and conservation organizations to promote measures that can save this creature and preserve the beauty of this special area.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Charles Hesse via Flickr. 

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