On a small islet very close to the coast of Karukinka Park, inside the first protected marine area of Tierra del Fuego, Chile, nests a small and unique colony of Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris). Discovered in 2003, it is the only inland colony of this species of which there is a record; this bird spends a lot of time feeding offshore and usually nests in oceanic islands.
Although, according to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 2018), the Black-browed albatross is classified as a Lesser Concern species, this colony has failed to reproduce successfully five seasons in a row. The American mink, an invasive and very voracious exotic species, has been observed on the islet and is suspected to prey on eggs and chicks of this fragile colony, jeopardizing its continuity. WCS Chile monitors the reproductive success and health of the colony and manages a project to control invasive mink. The size of the colony varies every year, with 64 active nests seen in the 2017-2018 season but only 22 nests in the 2018-2019 season, for which the reproductive success was nil. WCS is investigating other possible causes for this worrying trend, including predation by other animals, the experience and behavior of reproductive individuals, food availability and pathogens. This season (2019-2020) we have found 46 active nests and we estimate across the years, an average of 60 breeding pairs in this colony.