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Bermuda’s Paradise Lost, October 8

2012/09/25

Monday, October 8, 2012 – Bermuda’s Paradise Lost: The Story of the Bermuda Petrel, A film by Deirdre Brennan, Creator and Producer. 7:30 p.m., 2nd Floor Community Room, Lebanon Citizens National Bank, 30 Park Place West, Oxford, Ohio.

Bermuda’s only endemic breeding species is the Bermuda Petrel. This nocturnal, ground-nesting seabird once numbered more than half a million individuals. Its folk name, Cahow, refers to the bird’s eerie calls. Human settlement in the early 1600s brought with it deforestation and exploitation of the bird as food. It also introduced pigs, rats, cats and dogs, all of which soon decimated the petrel population. For 300 years, the petrel was thought to be extinct, but a dead specimen was found in 1935, and 18 nesting pairs were rediscovered in 1951 on offhsore islets uncolonized by rats and pigs. This film tells the compelling story of one man’s devoted conservation effort to save a critically endangered species. David Wingate planted 800 native trees and shrubs to create a suitable habitat for one of the rarest seabirds in the world. Thanks to intensive conservation management, the population had increased to 53 breeding pairs by the 1990s. An intensive Cahow Recovery Program began in 1961. The 2011-12 nesting season saw a record number of 56 chicks successfully fledging. This year the program reached a critical milestone: 101 nesting pairs of petrels.

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