All too often we hear only about species declines and problems faced by nature conservation. Yet there are many examples of excellent and positive conservation success stories that do not get the recognition they deserve. If approached correctly, based on science and properly resourced, conservation objectives can be met. Here we profile 10 conservation initiatives that have been very successful in delivery of conservation objectives. This is the latest in our Biodiversity Ireland’s Top 10 which celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

 

Rockabill Island Roseate Tern Project

Rockabill Island Roseate Tern Project
Ireland has a major responsibility for the conservation of Roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) as it supports 80% of the entire European breeding population of this species. Roseate tern suffered a 50% decline in population over a 20 year period in the latter part of the 20th Century. At Rockabill Island off the north Dublin coast, the largest breeding colony, the numbers dropped to a low of 180 pairs in 1989. BirdWatch Ireland and NPWS initiated a conservation project for Roseate terns on Rockabill Island by improving the habitat, constructing nest boxes, reducing disturbance from visitors and controlling gulls. The project has been a major success as the number of breeding pairs of Roseate terns has now risen to over 1,500. Challenges still remain to secure the future conservation of this species, but the on-going and long-term management of Rockabill Island is one of Ireland's great conservation success stories (Photograph: Brian Burke).