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“Primavera in Giardino 2018” in Milis (OR)

On 10 and 11 March Villa Pernis in Milis (OR) will host the specialized gardening fair “Primavera in Giardino”, organized by the ‘LANDPLANTS SARDINIA’ Cultural Association with the support of the municipality of Milis. This is one of the most important gardening fairs in Sardinia, featuring new developments from the worlds of gardening, orchards, and vegetable farming. Several conferences will be held during the event, including, on the afternoon of the 10th, a panel on “The risks and opportunities of invasive alien species” moderated by Professor Giuseppe Brundu of the University of Sassari and a consultant for the Life Puffinus project. The Tavolara Marine Protected Area, which is working with the Life Puffinus project on eradication and awareness-raising targeting invasive alien plants such as Carpobrotus, will have its own stand during the fair. It will take the opportunity to explain to visitors the actions of the Life project and distribute copies of the publication “Mediterranean gardens without invasive plants “.

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Springtime eggs

We are celebrating the arrival of spring with images of the first egg laid by the Yelkouan Shearwaters being filmed by the project’s cameras. The brief video shows a female incubating an egg while a male calls from the entrance to the nesting burrow. Over the next few weeks, they will take turns incubating. This year, after the eradication of Black Rats, we expect a higher number of chicks to fledge.

The Tavolara Marine Protected Area in Milis

Last week, Milis hosted the “Primavera in Giardino” specialized gardening fair. The Tavolara Marine Protected Area had its own stand at the fair, as part of action E6 of the Life project. Visitors to the fair were informed about issues related to invasive alien plant species, which are often cultivated for decorative purposes in private and public gardens, thus running the risk of their release into the natural environment. Available at the stand were copies of the brochure “Mediterranean gardens without invasive plants”, part of the Life Puffinus communication material and dedicated to the topic of alien plant species. It is worth remembering that there is a code of best practices put together by the European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) and adopted by the Council of Europe to prevent the introduction of alien species and mitigate the negative impacts and spread of those already present. The code aims to raise awareness among everyone in the gardening sectors, including landscape architects and engineers and workers in the produce sector, on how to adopt best practices to avoid the unchecked spread of alien species, which interfere with native ones and cause negative ecological, social, and economic impacts, including the gradual loss of biodiversity.

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Ports are also helping with bio-security measures

As part of action C4 to prepare and implement biosecurity measures to ensure the long-term success of the rat eradication effort on Tavolara, a meeting was organized with the managing authorities of the ports that face the Marine Protected Area.

The managing authorities proved to be aware of the issues related to invasive species and pledged their fullest collaboration for joint activities, which together with other biosecurity measures will reduce the risk of rats re-colonizing the island.

Biosecurity measures

The monitoring activities and biosecurity measures listed under action C4 of the Life Puffinus are continuing.

The biosecurity system includes several measures aiming to reduce the possibility of rats and mice reaching the island on ships, through actions implemented at the points of departure and specific information actions. Additionally, some of the interventions planned aim to quickly ‘intercept’ any rodents that may reach Tavolara (especially around inhabited areas) and its islets, preventing the formation of new populations.

This phase included the placement of poisoned bait stations that are particularly attractive to rats – so-called rat hotels – comprising wooden boxes with several food items, nest construction material, and rat bait. Rat hotels were placed in strategic locations on Tavolara, near human settlements and areas frequented by tourists (Spalmatore di Terra) and islets such as Isola Cavalli and Isola Piana.

Indeed, recent studies suggest it is more efficient to place rat hotels at strategic spots frequented by rats rather than distributing a large number of bait stations.

Later on, with the help of ship owners, the chances of rats arriving on the island will be further reduced with the placement of bait stations on the boats making regular runs to Tavolara.

Linea Blu meets Tavolara and the Yelkouan Shearwater

The season’s first episode of Linea Blu, the Rai 1 programme on the culture of the sea, featured the Yelkouan Shearwater protection effort. More specifically, the television audience was informed about the eradication of Black Rats carried out thanks to the contribution of the Life programme. The entire episode can be viewed here.

Meeting on invasive plants and the managements of parks and gardens

As part of the Life Puffinus Tavolara project, the Tavolara Marine Protected Area and the municipality of Olbia invite all professionals involved in the planning and management of parkland and gardens, along with all other interested citizens, to a meeting on invasive plants.

The meeting will be held on 13 April 2018 at 5 PM in the offices of the Marine Protected Area in Via Porto Romano, 11. The speaker, Prof. Giuseppe Brundu of the University of Sassari, will discuss problems related to the management of alien invasive plants in light of existing EU regulations, so as to promote a greater awareness of the issue.

Meeting on the management of parks and gardens

On Friday, 13 April 2018, the offices of the Tavolara Marine Protected Area hosted a meeting on alien invasive plants, in order to promote a greater awareness of the issue among  professionals involved in the planning and management of parkland and gardens.

The seminar, open to all interested citizens, featured presentations by Dr. Augusto Navone, director of the Tavolara Marine Protected Area, who described the activities of the  Life + Puffinus Tavolara project, and Prof. Giuseppe Brundu of the University of Sassari, who discussed problems related to terrestrial invasive alien species and the EU regulations on their management and containment.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Forestry Corps, various local professionals (architects and agronomists), and a group of local nature enthusiasts.

The shearwaters are incubating

The monitoring of Yelkouan Shearwater nests at Tavolara and Molara is ongoing.

This is a particularly complex activity because this species nests in inaccessible sites such as cavities and cracks in seaside cliffs.

Right now, adults of both sexes are taking turn incubating a single egg, which will hatch in the next few weeks, about 50 days after it was laid.

After the rat eradication effort, and subsequent follow-ups that did not record any rodents, it is hoped that this year will see a significant increase in breeding success, with a great number of juvenile Yelkouan Shearwaters that will (finally!) be able to fledge without being predated by rats.

The first chicks have hatched

The first chicks have hatched! The video shows the first images of one of the chicks that hatched in one of the Tavolara caves equipped with a video surveillance system. During their first few days of life, the chicks are brooded by one of the parents while the other is at sea foraging. Over the next few days we will publish other images of this year’s breeding success, obtained after the eradication of Black Rats.

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