Competition Judge: Tui De Roy
Tui De Roy A naturalist/writer, wildlife photographer and conservationist, Tui spent her childhood in the Galapagos, educated by the islands’ nature and the scientists studying it. A founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, she is passionate about conservation, and the important role of photography. Her work has appeared in major publications in more than 40 countries and she has produced fourteen large format wildlife books. Ranked amongst the world’s top ten international wildlife photographers, Tui has repeatedly served on the finals judging panel for the UK’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. She is fluent in four languages and is much sought after worldwide as a public speaker. Tui’s many awards and accolades include being a Honorary Warden for the Galapagos National Park and receiving the Charles Darwin Foundation Medal for important contributions to conservation. She is currently Patron of the New Zealand chapter for Friends of Galapagos.
White Vented Storm Petrels
As patron of Friends of Galapagos New Zealand, Tui De Roy is spearheading a collaborative project with the Galapagos National Park to locate this mysterious seabird’s as yet unknown nesting sites. She will be organizing a team of experts to lead an expedition hosted by the national park next year. Storm petrels are small seabirds that live in the open ocean, feeding on plankton. Like all oceanic seabirds, they spend most of their lives at sea but must nest on land. The two main threats to oceanic seabirds are bycatch in fisheries and predation at the nest by introduced predators, such as rats. The breeding sites of the white-vented storm petrel, most likely to become a Galapagos endemic species, have never been found. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to ensure their protection. If there is only one breeding colony, and rats or another pest invade that island, the bird could become extinct before the problem was even recognized. This project will therefore fulfil a very important conservation mandate. It will involve netting birds at sea during the season when nesting is suspected, attaching minute radio tracking devices (weighing just 1g each) to their tail feathers, and then trying to follow them to their nests. This will involve involve following their radio signals by fast speedboat day and night to avoid loosing them as they flit over the waves, then — once the birds turn inland — shifting to land expeditions, with radio tracking and spotlighting the skies at night to pin-point where they alight. New Zealand has experts in storm petrel capture and tracking, and has the necessary equipment for this work. Two New Zealand experts, Chris Gaskin and Karen Baird, have worked on storm petrels in New Zealand and Chile, and have just published a paper describing a new storm petrel species from Chile. They are keen to work with Tui as volunteers in the Galapagos to provide this crucial piece of information to help the Galapagos National Park in its conservation management work.
“I grew up watching these small birds flitting about in Galapagos waters, yet their vulnerability to introduced predators is extreme so we need to discover where they nest to be able to protect them – it’s that simple.”
~Tui De Roy