When people think of Bermuda, there are likely two things that immediately come to mind: the Bermuda Triangle, and a tropical paradise. While we don’t have evidence to support any of the theories about the mysterious happenings in the Bermuda Triangle, we can say that not all is coming up roses in paradise.
The region has unfortunately been prone to many ecological troubles, including the near-extinction of one of its endemic seabirds: the Bermuda Petrel. Commonly known as the Cahow, these seabirds were so named by early English colonists for their distinct, eerie vocalization that conjured up images of devils and evil spirits. This irrational fear, coupled with the introduction of non-native species like rats and dogs led to the indiscriminate slaughter of the Cahow, to the point that the bird has been thought to be extinct since the early 17th century.
However, 18 nesting birds were discovered in 1951 on rocky islets of the archipelago by a trio of naturalists, including renown ornithologist David B. Wingate. Following the discovery, Wingate made the Cahow his life’s work, building new and reinforcing natural structures in order to protect the seabird and its nests on Nonsuch Island. Although the species still faces challenges brought on by hurricane destruction and availability of proper breeding habitat, Wingate’s efforts to bring the Cahow back from extinction have culminated in the establishment of a wildlife sanctuary on Nonsuch Island. Access to the island is strictly limited, allowing for the Cahow and other endemic seabirds to repopulate the region unfettered by human activities.
Image via Wikipedia