Conservationists in Suriname, Guyana, Cook islands


This video from Suriname says about itself:

Field Spotlight: Monique Pool’s Sloth Sanctuary – Conservation International (CI)

Monique Pool, CI partner and founder of the Green Heritage Fund Suriname, finds herself “slothified” after an area of forest in Paramaribo, Suriname, is cut down. Monique rescued more than 200 animals, mostly sloths, and brought them to an emergency shelter, which also happens to be her home. Watch how Monique manages to feed, house, and release the sloths back into the wild.

From Conservation International:

3 Conservation Champions Who Rocked Our World in 2013

John Martin

During the course of 2013, we were fortunate to have met and worked with three amazing conservation champions who are important friends and partners to CI.

1. Monique Pool, from the greenest country on earth — Suriname — became “slothified” when she rescued over 200 sloths out of a patch of forest that was being cleared for cattle pasture. All animals were brought to her house and eventually released back into a protected forest. Her drive and passion for these animals is so inspiring to us.

2. Nan Hauser from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific seduced us with her contagious strength and spirit. Her whale research and deep passion and understanding for these amazing marine mammals have helped create one of the largest marine parks in the world.

3. And finally, Sydney Allicock from Guyana. Indigenous leader, member of parliament, ecotourism pioneer, charismatic storyteller — these are just a few words to describe how this conservation champion has conserved his people’s traditional ways of life, protected their forests and biodiversity, and thus improved his people’s livelihoods.

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Save Suwarrow islands’ seabirds


This video is called BirdLife Invasive Species Programme – Saving Suwarrow’s Seabirds.

BirdLife writes about this:

BirdLife launches invasive species video – Saving Suwarrow’s Seabirds

Tue, Jul 16, 2013

At BirdLife’s World Congress last month we launched our newest global conservation programme. The BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme will work around the globe to tackle one of the greatest of threats to our natural world. Today we’re launching a new video by award-winning filmmaker Nick Hayward showcasing just what it takes to eliminate rats in restoring a remote atoll in the South Pacific…

Invasive alien species are animals and plants that have been introduced into a natural environment where they are not normally found. In the last 500 years, species like rats and cats have driven over 70 bird species to extinction.

“To tackle this major threat to birds and nature we recently launched the BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme”, said Donald Stewart – BirdLife Pacific Director.

From local to global, the new programme will develop and share our expertise to tackle invasive alien species whilst also calling for more effective policies and support for their delivery.

“Experience has shown benefits to birds, biodiversity and local economies are substantial where invasive threats are managed”, noted Don.

“Across sites of importance for endangered native wildlife the BirdLife Partnership will intensify this effort through the eradication or control of exotic species, and implementation of locally-led biosecurity measures to ensure these threats don’t return”.

On the ground, BirdLife Pacific, and the BirdLife Partner in the Cook Islands Te Ipukarea Society, recently completed an expedition to eradicate rats from Suwarrow Atoll.

“Suwarrow is one of increasingly few sites where seabirds occur largely undisturbed”, said Steve Cranwell – BirdLife Pacific Seabird Manager.

“The significance of which is reflected in the proportions of birds present including nine percent of the world’s population of Lesser Frigatebird, three percent of the world’s Red-Tailed Tropicbird and in excess of a hundred thousand Sooty Tern”.

Sadly, the growing rat population and their spread across the Atoll, threatened the breeding seabirds.

In order to conserve this globally important seabird site, BirdLife International and Te Ipukarea Society recently spent a month on the atoll in a carefully planned bid to remove the rats.

Joining the team was wildlife documentary filmmaker Nick Hayward – with the support of Wildiaries – seeking to produce a film about the operation. Nick won a place on the trip following a worldwide search by BirdLife for an experienced wildlife filmmaker, and posted regular blog updates from the field via satellite phone.

Nick’s now finished his video that provides a brief insight into what it takes to complete such an operation. Many months in the planning the team travelled the 930 km from Rarotonga to Suwarrow by sea. Twice. And dealt with challenges associated with unpredictable weather, swarms of wasps, and abundant coconut crab in a bid to banish invasive rats from Suwarrow.

It will be some time until we know for sure if their efforts have been successful, but early signs look positive.

Birds and crabs on Pacific paradise island


This video is called Seabirds of Suwarrow 2/6 Masked Booby (Lulu).

From BirdLife:

Suwarrow Blog 13 – Larcenous saboteurs and creative crab-chefs

The latest blog from wildlife filmmaker Nick Hayward as he joins a team from BirdLife and Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife in the Cook Islands) eradicating rats from Suwarrow – a seabird mecca in the South Pacific.

Today the team search for more islets with rat inhabitants and find the inquisitive coconut crabs have a culinary bent.

“The baiting is still on hold while we wait for a gap in the weather. The vagaries of recent forecasts testing the patience of the team as predicted rain fails to eventuate. But telling how much rain is going to fall on a pinhead in the middle of the Pacific Ocean would be a challenge to any forecaster.

Nevertheless, this has given us a chance to attend to other tasks.

While planning the eradication, anecdotal reports suggested Motu Oneone may also have rats in addition to the known populations on Anchorage and Motu Kena. To verify this two nights of searching and trapping were conducted on the island.

Oneone is ten hectares of lush native tropical forest, a large booby colony and many frigatebirds. But most numerous are the coconut crabs whose inquisitive and destructive habits added to the challenge of trapping and life on the island. In an effort to put the rat-traps out of crab reach they were positioned in trees, but clearly a coconut morsel was irresistible to these lumbering calciferous crushers.

Returning to check the traps the following morning a piece of string to which a trap was once attached was all that remained. Searching the vegetation below generally revealed a spring, a treadle, and other dismembered parts.

Traps were by no means their sole attention.

The many new and shiny objects to be found at the camp provided a source of ‘entertainment and discovery’ like no other. Despite hanging anything that could be out of harm’s way, an extended search finally revealed the water bottle had received a pounding beneath a bush and the food bucket toppled mixing the plums and baked beans. A combination to test even the ravenous.

In spite of the local sabotage enough information was collected to confirm there are no rats on Oneone. Good news in progressing the aim of a rat-free Suwarrow.

Hopefully the weather will do its part in the next day or two and we can complete the baiting operations for Anchorage, Motu Tou and Motu Kena”.

Nick Hayward, Suwarrow Atoll, Cook Islands – 14th May 2013.

Update: here.

A Pacific bird paradise filmmaker’s blog


This video says about itself:

14 October 2010

Suwarrow is part of the Cook Islands. An atoll, inhabited by two caretakers, James and Apii who showed us around this paradise.

From BirdLife:

Suwarrow Blog Eight – Land ahoy!

Fri, May 3, 2013

The latest blog from wildlife filmmaker Nick Hayward as he joins a team from BirdLife and Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife in the Cook Islands) eradicating rats from Suwarrow – a seabird mecca in the South Pacific.

Today they land on Suwarrow and are welcomed by swarms of seabirds, sharks and crabs…

“As the distance counted down to our destination everybody was on deck searching for the first sight of Suwarrow. Peering above the horizon we first saw the trees of Motu Oneone. As we approached the lagoon entrance we spied Lesser Frigatebirds swarming like bees over their globally important colony. A flock of Black Noddies streamed in low over the water as the frigates pounced, pirating their food. A huge tropical downpour briefly obscured the view, a good omen for a successful expedition.

As we lined up the entrance the rain cleared revealing a magnificent sky over our new home Anchorage Island.

The Southern Cross doesn’t have a dingy so the bravest team members swam ashore to retrieve the caretaker’s boat. Shortly afterwards a patrol of Black-tipped Reef-sharks circled the yacht. Luckily they are not man eaters.

Early next morning everybody helped to unload the stores, fuel and bait. It was hot and heavy work loading the dingy then stowing all the equipment carefully ashore.

The hard work didn’t finish there. After lunch we began the work of preparing the tracks for the rat baiting. The vegetation on Anchorage is thicker than expected so it’s hard slow work cutting through dense coconut and scrub thickets.

Suwarrow, apart from being a bird paradise, is also a land of crabs. Everywhere you look there’s scurrying little creatures. All sorts of crabs from small hermits to the large coconut crabs.

After our first full day ashore, we were treated thanks to the fishermen and Ian to the most magnificent fresh fish and coconut curry”.

Nick Hayward – Suwarrow Atoll, Cook Islands.

Pacific bird island film-maker wanted


This video is about Suwarrow Atoll.

From BirdLife:

Film-maker wanted for conservation expedition to South Pacific paradise

Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Film-maker wanted for conservation expedition to South Pacific paradise

Conservationists in the South Pacific are looking for an adventurous and talented film-maker to document an expedition to one of the remotest islands on the planet.

“We’re searching for somebody with the full package of skills from story-boarding, to filming and editing, and who is willing to be part of a month-long expedition to an extremely remote Pacific atoll”, said Don Stewart – BirdLife Director for the Pacific Partnership.

BirdLife International and their Partner Te Ipukarea Society are looking for somebody to film their expedition to eradicate rats from Suwarrow Atoll in the Cook Islands.

Suwarrow atoll is an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary and one of the most important seabird breeding sites in the South Pacific Ocean.

Over 100,000 seabirds are found on the atoll, which is located 930 km north-west of Rarotonga – the Cook Islands main island. The lagoon in the centre of Suwarrow is home to many sharks, turtles and manta rays. A true Pacific paradise.

However, the wildlife is under threat following an invasion of rats which could decimate the seabird population by eating their eggs and chicks, and spread across the circular chain of 22 Islets.

“Left unchecked the rats put at risk globally important seabird populations found at the site”, said Ian Karika – Suwarrow Project Manager for Te Ipukarea Society.

In a bid to save Suwarrow, conservationists are finalising their plans to visit the site in April next year, and to completely eradicate the rats. The operation will last for around a month and may involve traveling to and from the site using a traditional Pacific catamaran or Vaka.

Today they announced a global search for a talented and adventurous film-maker to join the team and produce a short video about the project. The film will be used to inform and inspire people, and feature at the BirdLife World Congress in Ottawa in June 2013.

“We’re looking for somebody to join us on this exciting expedition to a piece of Pacific paradise and produce an inspirational film showcasing our island restoration work to a global audience”, concluded Don Stewart.

If you are interested and wish to apply, please email a brief description of (i) your suitability for the role, (ii) why you’d like to join the team, and (iii) a link to view an short example of your work online to: nick DOT askew AT birdlife DOT org. The closing date for applications is 14th January 2013. A contribution toward costs will be provided to the successful candidate.

Follow live updates from the BirdLife team as they spend a month eradicating rats from one of the remotest atolls in the South Pacific, Suwarrow: here. See also here.

March 2013. The demise of the dodo is one of the better known bird extinctions in the world, but its sad fate was anticipated a thousand times over by its Pacific cousins. A catastrophic mass extinction of birds in the Pacific Islands followed the arrival of the first people: here.