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This presentation was given at the 8th Pan-African Ornitholigcal Congress in September 2008. The abstract reads as follows:
The Damara Tern (Sterna balaenarum) is a near-endemic, near-threatened seabird that breeds along the Namibian coastline. Its breeding range extends into the Sperrgebiet, a diamond mining area along the southern coast of Namibia about to be proclaimed as a National Park. A study is being conducted to investigate the potential impact of diamond mining on the breeding productivity of the Damara Tern at one mined locality, Elizabeth Bay, and three other nesting sites along the southern Namibian coastline. Diamond mining may impact the breeding productivity in several ways: habitat destruction, disturbance, and foraging efficiency due to sediment discharge. Parameters monitored are colony size, breeding success, chick growth and condition, and adult foraging success. Out of the four breeding sites monitored, Elizabeth Bay has the smallest number of nests. The number of nests has also decreased from 30 in 1979 (before mining), to 13 (during mining) in 2008. Nests were previously found in areas which have since been mined and are now unsuitable nesting habitats. The other non-mined sites were Marmora Pan (55 nests), Grossebucht (21 nests) and Hottentot’s Bay (80 nests). Breeding success and chick predation rates differ between sites. So far no differences in chick growth rates and adult foraging success could be established between mined and non-mined sites. Chick growth and condition, however seem to be dependent on the distance between colony and feeding sites.