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Recovery Feasibility Summary

Under the Species at Risk Act (Section 40), the competent minister is required to determine whether the recovery of the listed species is technically and biologically feasible.  Analysis of recovery feasibility for this species, based on the four criteria outlined by the Government of Canada (2009), demonstrates that the recovery of the Ivory Gull is technically and biologically feasible for the following reasons:

1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.

Yes. As of 2009, there were 39 productive Ivory Gulls colonies in Canada with an estimated population of approximately 800 birds. Under similar conditions, individuals within these colonies are capable of reproducing and colonies are suspected to be persisting. Further surveys of suitable habitat may result in the discovery of additional colonies.

2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.

Yes. Sufficient, suitable Ivory Gull breeding habitat is presently available. There do not appear to have been significant physical changes to most of the Ivory Gull breeding habitat in Canada. Wintering habitat may have altered due to global warming-induced changes to sea-ice timing and distribution, but the specific habitat requirements of Ivory Gulls during migration or the winter are not fully understood. Investigations into the specific habitat parameters will allow more effective habitat management projects to be initiated in the future.   

3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.

Yes. The primary threat to Ivory Gull recovery is illegal shooting of individuals during migration along the coast of Greenland, as well as the disturbance or anthropogenic activities near breeding colonies. Both of these threats can be mitigated.

4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.

Yes. The main recovery techniques will be protection and international management of migrating Ivory Gulls, as well as national protection of critical habitat. These techniques should be effective. However, research into this species’ ecology and habitat requirements will provide specific information on the level and severity of threats, notably those now thought to influence gulls when they are away from the breeding colony, so that additional recovery techniques can be developed.