The importance of Türkiye for the threatened Audouin’s gulls is increasing.

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Doga Dernegi published a 2023 report, which includes the population, global distribution, current threats and conservation efforts of the globally threatened Audouin’s gulls. According to the report, the decline in Audouin’s gull numbers could reach 40% by 2030.

The Audouin’s gulls are threatened seabirds distributed along the Mediterranean coasts. It is evaluated within the vulnerable (VU) category at the global scale, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The most distinctive feature of the white and grey Audouin’s gull is its dark eyes and red beak. The Audouin’s gull feeds on fish, primarily Clupeiformes, invertebrates and plants.

The Audouin’s gull, one of the 17 gull species recorded in Türkiye so far, is seen on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts throughout the year. Doga Dernegi has brought together the research on Audouin’s gull, its current distribution, population status, threats and expert opinions in a report. This report is publicly available on the Doga’s website.

Their numbers could decline by 40% by 2030.

The number of Audouin’s gulls has been decreasing since 2010. While most of the individuals in the western colonies of the Mediterranean join different colonies, changes are also observed in the distribution map of the species. 70% of breeding colonies are largely disbanded. Audouin’s gulls are disappearing due to threats such as the decrease in fishing scraps, the negative impact of mammals such as dogs, red foxes and badgers on the species, bycatch, competition with silver gulls, coastal tourism in breeding areas, grazing, vehicle collisions and egg collection. Studies show that the decrease in the number of Audouin’s gulls is estimated to reach 31-40% between 2006 and 2030, corresponding to 3 generations.

Türkiye is of critical importance for the Audouin’s Gulls.

Making a statement on the subject, Doga Dernegi Conservation Manager Şafak Arslan said “Research on the Audouin’s gull in our country is very limited. The data shows that 47-90 pairs breed in Türkiye. Successful projects and action plans have been launched to increase the number of Audouin’s gull in Mediterranean countries. Türkiye has a significant potential for seagulls, which have high dispersal ability and the tendency to increase as a result of studies. Therefore, studies should be initiated urgently to protect coastal ecosystems and islands and to eliminate threats to Audouin’s gulls.” and added,

“Protecting only the breeding colonies of Audouin’s gulls, which do not usually forage more than 40 km from their colonies, can protect a significant part of the population. Determining and monitoring all breeding areas, prohibiting intervention in these areas, inspecting recreation and development activities near the colonies, controlling other species that adversely affect the breeding of Audouin’s gulls, and regulating fisheries management policies are the first and critical steps that can be taken to protect this species.”

*The Audouin’s Gull Studies in Türkiye 2023 Report can be accessed online at the link.

For Detailed Information and Contact:

-Şafak Arslan, Doga Dernegi Conservation Manager

[email protected]

+90 507 346 09 14

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