Rat and invasive bird control save the Tahiti monarch, a critically endangered single island endemic

Birds of the islands and waters of the South Pacific.
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Michael Szabo
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Rat and invasive bird control save the Tahiti monarch, a critically endangered single island endemic

Postby Michael Szabo » Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:24 am

"The Tahiti monarch is a critically endangered bird species endemic to Tahiti. In 1998, when a conservation program started, its range was restricted to four valleys, with 19 birds living in the accessible lower valleys. In one of these valleys, a remote population located upstream of a series of waterfalls was present but, was first protected only in 2009. The first conservation actions focused on rat control alone and this probably saved the species from imminent extinction. However, the accessible population, living in the lower sites, had only increased to 22 birds by 2012 (1% per annum), part of a global population of just 40 birds. The introduced common myna and red-vented bulbul were identified as additional threats to monarch breeding success. With the help of a network of local inhabitants living near the valley entrance, 8,475 mynas and 17,859 bulbuls were eliminated in seven years. This study shows that overall nest and fledging survival was increased by invasive bird control, reduced by heavy rain but not substantially changed by increases in the level of rat control. During this period, the total Tahiti monarch population increased from 40 adults to 79 in 2018, (12% per annum). Our results illustrate the necessity to control several threats together in order to recover island birds with low productivity. Conservationists need to consider that several other island birds, with low productivity, may need multi-invasive control to recover."

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... via%3Dihub
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Rat and invasive bird control save the Tahiti monarch, a critically endangered single island endemic

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sun May 03, 2020 12:30 pm

Thanks Michael. An interesting conservation story. One glaring gap is that they didn't determine cause of nest failure. Although the rat control that was done apparently halted decline and extinction, they also don't appear to have ever achieved what we in NZ would call effective control. Rat dynamics in the tropics probably make it difficult, but it would be good to see what happens if they actually controlled them well.
Interesting that tens of thousands of mynas and bulbuls had to be killed to increase the monarch population by 39.
Jim_j
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Re: Rat and invasive bird control save the Tahiti monarch, a critically endangered single island endemic

Postby Jim_j » Mon May 04, 2020 9:38 am

Yes - how many millions (?) of rats/stoats/possums have we had to kill to go.... well pretty much backwards still!

cheers
Jim
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Rat and invasive bird control save the Tahiti monarch, a critically endangered single island endemic

Postby Michael Szabo » Fri May 08, 2020 12:43 pm

The paper itself is behind a pay-wall making it difficult to comment on the details you mention, Neil.
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