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Story of the cahow goes international

Bermuda Sun
Friday, October 5, 2012

Sarah Lagan

FRIDAY, OCT. 5: The story of how Bermuda’s cahow was brought back from the brink of extinction will hit bookstores across the world next week.

Rare Birds: The Extraordinary Tale of the Bermuda Petrel and the Man Who Brought It Back from Extinction explores the conservation work of Dr David Wingate.

It looks at the pioneering project the island’s former conservation officer first began in 1959 and traces Dr Wingate’s tireless efforts to save the species from extinction.

Rare Bird: The Cahow is the subject of a
new book by author Elizabeth Gehrman.

*Photo by Chris Burville

The cahow was almost completely wiped out by early settlers and the cats and rats they brought with them. And for 300 years the Bermuda Petrel was thought to be extinct.

But a handful of the species were rediscovered on tiny islands off the east end of Bermuda in 1951.

That discovery prompted Dr Wingate to launch the conservation bid to save the bird.

The programme, which has been continued by Jeremy Madeiros since 2000, has seen the Cahow population recover from just 18 breeding pairs to 100 pairs in 2012.

The new book has been written by Elizabeth Gehrman, who also freelances for the Boston Globe.

And she will return to the island next week to coincide with the book’s release on October 9.

Ms Gehrman will attend a public book signing, along with Dr Wingate, at the Aquarium on Tuesday between 6pm and 7:30pm.