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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Samoa's Endangered Manumea & Mao


   Samoa is a cluster of ten tropical islands, home to a wide variety of species including the little dodo and giant honeyeater. Surveys of Samoa’s tropical forests indicate that quick action must be taken to save the little dodo from the same fate as it’s extinct cousin. The locals describe the little dodo (also called Manumea) as the princess of the forest, and are worried about the distinct ground pigeon’s future. Biologist Rebecca Stirnemann reports seeing only ten in the wild in two and a half years of fieldwork, and says, “Surveys suggest that less than 200 birds remain, but the actual population size maybe much lower than this.” One of the primary concerns is that birds are being killed in their nests by invasive rats which are non-native to Samoa’s forests, the little dodo’s only habitat. There are none of it’s kind in captivity which makes conservation efforts all the more crucial to save the species from it’s fall to extinction, and captive breeding may be a next step.
   Sadly, the little dodo is not Samoa’s only endangered bird, as it stands by the Maomao (also called honeyeater or “Mao”) on the IUCN Red List. Their relatively slow rate of reproduction compounds the species’ risk of predation, and time on the forest floor makes them very vulnerable to predators. To conserve both species that live scattered on Samoa's ten islands, conservationists and biologists like Stirnemann are looking to work with the local people in Samoa through education and direct conservation of the 76% of the land owned by them, to protect the birds they share adoration for. Research is also being done to determine the most effective actions to take such as potential rat control in areas where the birds are most vulnerable.

References
Callaway, E., & Outcalt, J. (2012, March 2). » Save the Biodiversity of Samoa. Birdfreak.com - Birds, Conservation, & the Great Outdoors. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from http://birdfreak.com/save-the-biodiversity-of-samoa/
Hance, J. (2013, March 4). Extinction warning: racing to save the little dodo from its cousin's fate.Monga Bay conservation news and environmental science news. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0304-hance-little-dodo.html

Save the biodiversity of Samoa. (n.d.). The Mao and Manumea project. Save the biodiversity of Samoa. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://samoanbirds.com/

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