Protecting Biodiversity
in the Unknown Aegean Islands

A few days ago a new phase of the Archipelagos Institute’s collaboration began
with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences

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As we enter the heart of autumn, the Archipelagos Institute continues its parallel actions to protect the rare nature of the Aegean, focusing on uninhabited islets. These isolated Aegean ecosystems, which many consider to be of minor importance, are environmental points of international interest as they support and host rare biodiversity above and below the water. But for centuries the Aegean islands were also of great economic and social importance, as they were cultivated and controlled livestock, inhabited by families, seasonally or permanently, as is evident from the remaining buildings.

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Fourteen of these rocky islets, small diamonds in the sea, have been the Permanent Wildlife Refuge of Bats and Islands of Patmos since 2004. The Shelter was created based on the research and interventions of the Archipelagos Marine Protection Institute in the area, in close cooperation with the local community, the Municipality of Patmos and the South Aegean Region. Hunting is prohibited indefinitely in the Katafigi area, and the nature of the area is generally protected from all forms of anthropogenic destruction.

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Two of the rocky islands that form part of the Refuge, Anhydros and Petrokaravos, were formed in 2005 following the coordinated and dynamic intervention of the Institute, in close cooperation with the local community and the Municipality of Patmos, the first region of Greece in which The military exercises using real fires for environmental protection were stopped by a standing order.

Among the species that make up the region’s rare biodiversity, numerous bird species find a safe refuge and breeding place on islets. In particular, the Anhydros and Petrokaravos islands, as well as others in the wider Aegean, are internationally important breeding colonies for Mavropetritis (Falco elenorae), a protected species of small hawk, which migrates annually from Madagascar to Madagascar to Madagascar. 2/3 of its world population is reproduced.
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The Archipelagos Institute’s collaboration with scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) enables us to leverage know-how and new technologies to monitor migratory birds. Modern software developed by Dr Ronny Steen’s research team is used to analyze the image recorded by camera traps, which are used to monitor the behavior of hawks in the nest, thus avoiding any hassle. birds from the human presence.

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This multiannual research since 2013 has led to important scientific announcements, such as the first recording of black pets, trying to feed their chicks with plastic wrapped in food, which demonstrates the alarming effects of plastic pollution. , even in the most remote areas of the Greek seas.

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A Black Piper is trying to feed his chicks with plastic wrapped around food. Plastic pollution is now found in the most remote areas of Greece and the world

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The Archipelagos Marine Protection Institute has just begun a new phase of cooperation with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where we are assessing the erosion of the islands due to overgrazing, which is a major biodiversity risk factor. At the same time, throughout the fall and winter, the Archipelago Institute’s marine research team will continue to work in the same area with the aim of highlighting the importance of local underwater ecosystems that, due to their isolation, support highly productive fisheries and in rare species such as seals. Priority for the coming period is also to assess and tackle anthropogenic impacts, such as illegal hunting which has been on the rise in recent weeks even in the most remote areas of the Aegean.

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