Isla Mocha is 35 km off the coast of Tirúa, Chile, approximately 690 km south of Santiago. This continental island of 48km2 characterizes by its unique and well-preserved Valdivian forest, which was declared National Reserve in 1988. Approximately 600 people live permanently on the island, most of which rely on artisanal fisheries and small-scale tourism for their livelihood.
Isla Mocha is home to the largest breeding colonies of the Pink-footed shearwater (Puffinus creatopus); approximately, 70% of the world’s population nest here. The island is also rich in other wildlife, including the endemic frog Eupsophus insularis, and terrestrial birds such as the endemic Chucao de la Mocha (Scelorchilus rubecula mochae) and the Churrín de la Mocha (Eugralla paradoxa), among others.
However, this well-preserved ecosystem is not without threats. As in other islands worldwide, invasive alien species, including feral cats, dogs and rodents, have a significant impact on the island’s wildlife. Feral cats and dogs have been demonstrated to predate upon Pink-footed shearwaters and possibly other native birds. Chick harvesting among island residents is another important conservation concern.
On Isla Mocha, Oikonos’ mission is to contribute to the lasting conservation of the Pink-footed Shearwater and its unique habitats with the residents and resource managers. We focus our work on conservation research for the better understanding of the species status and threats, and on community-based activities involving school children, teachers and other important members of the community. We seek to develop long-lasting self-sustaining initiatives through the following activities:
- Quantifying nesting success and predation of Pink-footed Shearwaters for population models
- Implementing key parts of the CONAF Environmental Education strategy
- Supporting efforts to increase responsible pet management
- Establishing long-term Chilean partners for lasting conservation