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Reunion Island dims the light as the next generation of Barau’s petrel take flight

Reunion Island dims the light as the next generation of Barau’s petrel take flight ( Something unique is going to happen on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion when across the island the lights are dimmed at night and in part switched off.

The endemic but endangered Barau’s petrel and Black petrel species, which nests at the slopes of the Piton de la Fournaisse, the island’s active volcano, and the slopes of the Grand Benare, will see their young try to take flight for the first time in their young feathered lives at this time of the year. Conservationists have for several years now been working hand in hand with the island’s communes and authorities to reduce light pollution during this crucial period for the young birds to gain their bearings and ascend to adult life.

Scientists had noticed a destructive pattern among the young birds, when, confused by the bright city lights, they lost their direction and even followed the moonlight reflections on the waters of the Indian Ocean, leading to their demise.

Until April 26, therefore, conservation groups will be working with the local government, and will hold a series of educational talks and workshops across the island to emphasize the need to use lights which are not harmful to the birds or else switch off conventional lights where possible or otherwise dim them.

The successful campaign is now in its seventh year, and ornithologists are confident that this contribution by mankind will ultimately help these two endangered species of petrels to survive.

For more information, click here: or watch a short YouTube clip (narrative in French) here which was produced by the University of Reunion in conjunction with Reunion National Parks.

MEDIA CONTACT: Evelyne Coustillat, Reunion Island Tourism, Phone: +262 (0)262 90 83 69, Fax: +262 (0)262 21 00 21,

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