Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Search for the elusive Rarotonga Cyrtandra

Rarotonga has some very beautiful forest.

Hikers from the Natural Heritage Trust, National Environment Service and Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) got to enjoy that beauty in the upper Avana valley whilst surveying the Rarotonga Cyrtandra.

“This plant is only found on Rarotonga and nowhere else in the world,” says Gerald McCormack of the Natural Heritage Trust during the survey team briefing.

“It is also very rare,” he adds.

“So the objective of this hike is to find this plant and note down on a map where it is growing,” he says.

McCormack says it’s good to know where and when the plant was seen so we can keep track of its status.

The survey team began the 11 hour walk from the Avana water intake at 7am.

“The most challenging part for me was climbing the cliff face next to the water fall and walking along the narrow ridge,” says TIS Programme Manager, Jacqui Evans.

“I was a bundle of nerves after walking along that ridge for a good hour - but there was really no danger. There were plenty of tree trunks to hold on to,” says Evans.

The search team split up, heading down the valley and keeping in touch via walky talky.

The survey found only three specimens of the Rarotonga Cyrtandra known by its botanical name as Cyrtandra rarotongensis.

The team gives special thanks to Timberland for the supply of their 4wd truck for the drive between the intake and the main rd.

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