|Conservation of the Roseate Tern in Brittany
The Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii is very cosmopolitan but its global range is highly fragmented. Most of the global population, about 120 000 pairs, breeds outside Europe. In the North Atlantic Ocean, the Roseate Tern breeds on the north eastern coast of America and in Europe mainly on the Azores, in the Irish Sea region and on the north coast of Brittany in France. Since the 1970’s, European numbers have decreased dramatically by more than 50% to less than 2000 pairs in the last years. In France, the colony of Brittany supports nearly 100% of the French population and approximately 5% of the European numbers.
In Europe, it has increased slowly everywhere except in France. But on the north eastern coasts of America populations have declined recently and the reasons for this decline remain obscure. In Brittany, Roseate Tern’s population decreased a lot during seventies from an average of 360 breeding pairs between 1954 and 1973 to 90-100 pairs after 1980.
In Brittany, the main threats are uncontrolled human disturbance, predation by American Mink Mustela vison, predation and spatial interspecific competition with gulls Larus ssp, and unfavourable habitat management on potential nesting sites. The French population is also threatened because for the last 15 years there has been only one nesting site which makes it extremely fragile in case of accidental events… Today, the Île aux Dames in the bay of Morlaix holds the near-total French population of Roseate Tern i.e. seventy pairs.
On its wintering grounds in Ghana in western Africa, trapping by children is also an important threat for the Roseate Tern but this project doesn’t deal with that threat.
Those threats and the small numbers in France are the reason for this Life project with two objectives:
The means to implement these objectives on 5 Special Protection Areas are:
The project will begin the 1st November 2005 and will finish the 31st October 2010. At the end of the 5-year programme, the prospects are: