The Audouin’s Gull, symbol of the Greek seas, is threatened with extinction. The number of birds has been reduced by 50%, according to the Greek Ornithological Society, which recently held a population census. The media coordinator of the organization, Roula Trigkou, sounded the alarm about the dwindling numbers of the seabirds of the Aegean, noting that “Of the 750-900 pairs nesting on the Greek islands in the late ’90s, today their number does not exceed 350-500 “.
One of the main threats to the Audouin’s Gull seems to be fishing, as this special species cannot fly in the open sea to find food, but obtains it from the fish located along the coast. “People fish intensively in coastal waters and take the young fish, which is their only food,” says Mrs Trigkou and adds: “People who visit the uninhabited islets make adult Audouin’s Gulls fly away, leaving their eggs and chicks exposed to hot sun and predators such as cats and rats. ”
Other dangers this species of gull faces include being captured in fishing gear such as longlines, as well as its competition with the Yellow-legged Gull, the population of which has greatly increased due to the abundance of food provided in dumps.
The Audouin’s Gull is found only in the Mediterranean and establishes its colonies in uninhabited islands with most of them being located in the southern and eastern Aegean. It has a wingspan of up to 1.3 meters and its characteristic feature is its dark red beak.
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