The RSPB has worked closely with the government and local community of Tristan da Cunha for over two decades. In recognition of their outstanding contribution to nature conservation, the entire community of Tristan was awarded the much-coveted RSPB medal for conservation.
Tristan da Cunha is a mountainous archipelago that is home to tens of millions of seabirds, and several unique land birds comparable to the famous Galapagos island finches. The island group includes the World Heritage Site of Gough and Inaccessible Islands: Gough is arguably one of the most important seabird islands in the world.
Some of Tristan's seabirds, a handful of which nest nowhere else in the world, face many threats. These include illegal or unregulated fishing activities, which result in needless deaths due to bycatch, especially with longline fleets. Global ocean overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change and the accidental and historic introduction of non-native species, such as rats and mice, also threaten Tristan's wildlife.
Rodents have decimated many great seabird colonies around the world and Tristan da Cunha is no exception. On the main island of the archipelago, the once vast colonies of petrels are now reduced to tiny remnants. Working in partnership with the Tristan da Cunha government we will reverse these declines and restore these once magnificent islands to their former glory.
Fortunately, two other islands in the archipelago (Nightingale and Inaccessible) remain a rodent-free haven for seabirds and it is vital they stay that way, which highlights the need for improved biosecurity. Over five million great shearwaters nest on the islands, as well as endemic land birds such as the Wilkin's bunting, which is found only on Nightingale Island and holds the title of Britain's rarest bird, and the world's smallest flightless bird, the Inaccessible rail.
Species at risk in the Tristan island group
Critically Endangered species: Tristan albatross, Gough bunting.
Endangered species: Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, Wilkin's bunting, sooty albatross, Atlantic petrel, MacGillivray's prion.
Vulnerable species: Inaccessible rail, Inaccessible bunting, Nightingale bunting, spectacled petrel.
Near threatened species: Tristan thrush.