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5. Population and Distribution Objectives

The long-term goal for this species is to see the Canadian population increased to more that 1000 birds in Canadian range-wide surveys, with the breeding distribution maintained. There are four population and distribution objectives for the Canadian Ivory Gull. These are considered as objectives until 2016, and may be modified as more information is obtained. Given current available information these objectives will maintain population and distribution, but it is expected that achieving these objectives will help reverse population declines.

  1. Maintain the 2009 distribution and abundance of Ivory Gulls on eastern Ellesmere Island, over a five-year average (i.e., abundance will vary annually, but over 5 years, maintain at 2009 levels). 

    An estimated 700 Ivory Gulls populated nunataks north of Makinson Inlet in 2006 and again in 2009. This is the core of the known breeding population in Canada.

  2. Maintain the Seymour Island colony at ≥ 100 individuals annually. 

    The Seymour Island colony was traditionally the largest known colony in Canada, and may represent genetic distinctiveness from nunatak colonies to the east. Surveys since 2002 show that there is a “pool” of up to 200 gulls that may return to the island.

  3. Maintain the presence of breeding Ivory Gulls on Baffin Island, Cornwallis Island, and Devon Island.

    Small colonies of Ivory Gulls persist on these islands, and may be intermittent in occupation. It is currently unknown whether these populations (flat, ground-nesting groups) are genetically distinct from nunatak or island colonies, or the possible degree of movement (i.e. recovery potential) between colonies. However, population viability analyses suggest that colonies on Baffin and Devon islands are not expected to persist (Robertson et al. 2007), if current conditions continue.

  4. Maintain the presence of wintering Ivory Gulls that breed in Canada and Europe, which includes Canadian waters in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay as well as off the coast of Labrador.

    Historical surveys (Orr and Parsons 1982) and recent satellite telemetry data (Gilg et al. 2010; Mallory, unpublished data) suggest that these ice-covered waters may support a significant portion of the world’s population of Ivory Gulls.