Excessive exploitation of Central Pacific seabird populations at the turn of the 20th century

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Abstract

At the turn of the century, the uninhabited atolls of the central Pacific Ocean were visited by Japanese feather collectors, whose actions devastated their seabird populations. An assessment of the historic record shows that between 1897 and 1914 over 3.5 million seabirds were killed on islands in the central Pacific Ocean in the name of fashion for the millinery trade. Introduced animals have also taken their toll. Whereas the populations have recovered on some atolls, other islands do not show the original species diversity. Today the survival of the breeding colonies is again threatened as changing global climatic conditions bring about an increased chance that the remaining populations on the generally very low-lying atolls could come under threat from typhoons and storm surges, rather than the human predation of the past. Yet, without knowledge of the historical developments the current distribution of some species can not be understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Ornithology
Volume26
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1998

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