Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

In 1955, the French Government created the autonomous French Overseas Territory of 'Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF)', consisting of Saint Paul, Amsterdam Island, The Crozets, Kerguelen Island and Terre Adélie in Antarctica. Claim to the latter is disputed by the US. There are no permenant inhabitants, rather scientists and visiting fishermed. The main scientific base is at Port aux Français. Ships must anchor offshore. The islands are the tops of a submerged plateau (Kerguelen Plateau) and the water rarely exceeds 1000 feet deep. The highest point is Mont Ross (1,852 m) on Kerguelen Island.

Amsterdam Island and St Paul's Rocks

Jouventin, P. (1994) Past, present and future of Amsterdam Island (Indian Ocean) and its avifauna. In: Nettleship, D.N., J. Burger and M. Gochfeld. Seabirds on Islands: Threats, Case Studies and Action Plans. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 1: 22-132.

Jouventin, P., J.C. Stahl, H. Weimerskirch and J.L. Mougin. 1984. The seabirds of the French sub-Antarctic islands and Adelie Land, their status and conservation. In: Croxall, J.P., P.G.H. Evans and R.W. Schreiber (eds). Status and Conservation of the World's Seabirds. ICBP Technical Publication No. 2: 609-625. [French sub-Antarctic islands, sub-Antarctic, Adelie Land, seabird, population status, conservation, ICBP]

Jouventin, P., J. Martinez and J.P. Roux. (1989) Breeding biology and current status of the Amsterdam Island Albatross. Ibis 131: p171-189.

Weimerskirch, H. (1998) Foraging Strategies of Indian Ocean Albatrosses and their Relationship with Fisheries, In: (Roberston, G.C. and Gales, R.P., eds.) Ecology and Conservation of Albatrosses, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping North, Australia.

Weimerskirch, H. and Jouventin, P. (1998) Changes in population sizes and demographic parameters of six albatross species breeding on the French sub-Antactic islands, In: (Roberston, G.C. and Gales, R.P., eds.) Ecology and Conservation of Albatrosses. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping North, Australia.

Weimerskirch, H., Brothers, N., and Jouventin, P. (1997) Population dynamics of Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans and Amsterdam Albatross D. amsterdamensis in the Indian Ocean and their relationships with longline fisheries: conservation implications. Biological Conservation, 79: 257-270.

Weimerskirch, H. and Jouventin, P. (1987) Population dynamics of the Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) of the Crozet Islands; causes and consequences of the population decline. Oikos, 49: p315-322.

Kerguelen Island

Also known as Desolation Island, Kerguelen Island (îles Kerguelen) is the largest of a collection of small islands, islets and reefs in the southern Indian Ocean (40 deg. 20 sec. S, 70 deg. 00 sec E). The islands lie in the northern end of the Kerguelen-Gaussberg ridge and are built up of a thick series of lava flows. Located in the 'Roaring Forties', the weather can best be described as grim! It is cool to cold and it rains, sleets or snows on more than 300 days a year. Strong westerly gales are common and the ocean surface is often rough but never frozen. Photographs of the islands and more historical information can be found here and here.

The islands lie on the Antarctic Convergence, the meeting point of cold Antarctic water with warmer water from the South Indian Ocean. There are a number of endemic seabirds as well as major populations of more widespread forms. The endemics are: Kerguelen Shag (Phalacrocorax verrucosus),

Seabirds recorded on or near Kerguelen include:

Emperor Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

Macaroni Penguin

Wandering Albatross - breeds

Black-browed Albatross - breeds

Gray-headed Albatross - breeds

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - breeds

Sooty Albatross - breeds

Light-mantled Sooty Albatross - breeds

Northern Giant Fulmar

Southern Giant Fulmar

Cape Petrel - subspecies capense breeds

Blue Petrel - breeds

Great-winged Petrel - subspecies macroptera breeds

White-headed Petrel - breeds

Kerguelen Petrel - breeds

White-chinned Petrel - breeds

Soft-plumaged Petrel - subspecies fusca breeds

Gray Petrel - breeds

Slender-billed Prion - breeds

Antarctic Prion - subspecies desolata breeds

Medium-billed Prion - macqillivray breeds on St Paul Is. and possibly Amsterdam Is.

Fairy Prion

Wilson's Storm-petrel

Black-bellied Storm-petrel

Gray-backed Storm-petrel

South Georgia Diving Petrel

Kerguelen Diving Petrel

Kerguelen Shag
Black-faced Sheathbill
Brown Skua

Kelp Gull

Antarctic Tern
Kerguelen Tern

The Crozets

The Crozets (45°95' to 46°50'S, 50°33' to 52°58'E) are composed of two island groups separated by c. 100 km. The western group (Île aux Cochons, Îlots des Apotres, Île des Pingouins and the reefs Brisants de I 'Heroine) and the eastern group (Île de l'Est and the largest island in the group, Île de la Possession).

Useful Literature

Cherel, Y. et al, (1996) Interactions between long-line vessels and seabirds on Kerguelen Waters and a method to reduce seabird mortality. Biological Conservation 75: p63-70

Page and photos copyright of Angus Wilson© 2002, 2005 All rights reserved.
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