The Ship Rat threatens bird populations. Photo from the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Database.
As part of the “Conservation in the Cooks: Setting Priorities, Building Capacities” project, Te Ipukarea Society in partnership with the National Environment Service will be doing a seabird survey of the northern group islands in July-September this year. The purpose of the survey is to:
1. Identify seabird species and estimate population sizes (particularly for nesting/roosting species)
2. Identify introduced mammalian threats present (The focus is on those species that threaten seabirds but it would make sense to collect information on other kinds of threats where possible particularly ants)
3. Assess the feasibility (technically and socially) to eradicate mammalian threats
4. Record sightings of species and numbers of seabirds at sea
5. Provide the results of the work to communities in the Pa Enua Tokerau (northern islands).
6. Document survey results, management needs and prioritiesRed Cross has been very helpful by providing their network to make contact with those in the northern group islands to give them notice of our arrival. The survey is being funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) and it is coordinated by our new Biodiversity Coordinator, Ana Tiraa.