This 2012 video says about itself:
Dr Brent Stephenson (ornithologist on board) organised this trip across the atoll to a rat-free motu (islet) where the Société d’Ornithologie Polynésie (MANU) are making great efforts to monitor, protect and extend the present habitat of this bird. Great efforts are made to make sure no rats are introduced. The Polynesian Ground Dove is critically endangered with only an estimated 100-200 individuals in the world. Nine birds were counted on this motu in 2011.
Operation Restoration – island update #4 – Endangered birds found, and sharks
By Shaun Hurrell, Fri, 26/06/2015 – 10:30
The Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove is one of the world’s rarest birds. Named Tutururu by locals, there are only about 100 of these birds left in the world – all found in French Polynesia.
So finding them in good numbers on an invasive predator-free atoll was pretty exciting for our Operation Restoration team – who are working hard to save these birds (and many more native species) from extinction, and restore the natural ecological balance of the islands. It gives a very positive indicator of how these birds will bounce back after we have finished restoring their islands. But these birds still need your help.
With a huge amount of work still to do to restore 6 remote islands in the Acteon and Gambier archipelagos, this would have undoubtedly been a big morale boost for Steve Cranwell and the team, especially when faced with sharks snapping at their heels!
Find out more in the latest update below from Steve Cranwell, Project Leader and invasive species expert:
Steve’s reports via satelite phone 19th June
Sorry for the delay in communications – the magnitude of the practical reality of this operation set in, and we have been extremely busy fulfilling the myriad of tasks for this ambitious restoration effort! Amazingly (given all that could go wrong) we’re on track.
The ground team and helicopter crew, assisted by locals at each site, soon developed a slick and efficient operation for loading, whilst managing to keep loose bags and other paraphernalia potentially catastrophic to the helicopter in check…
This ground effort and precision flying meant that by the time we got to Vahanga and Tenania we were able to complete the operations there in half the time anticipated!
Some of the team spent the first week or so searching for Tutururu [local name for Polynesian Ground-dove] and Titi [local name for Tuamotu Sandpiper] on Vahanga. Despite being elusive, the efforts were rewarded with one male (named Charlie) and female Tutururu, and four Titi.
Some other team members have stayed on Tenararo to complete a census of Tutururu and Titi. This is the first time such a thorough assessment will have been made for this predator-free atoll. Initial reports indicate good numbers of both species.
When a lagoon channel crosses a monitoring transect, as it invariably does, there is a little adventure as overly attentive Blacktip reef sharks make a beeline for any submerged body part! Alertness and a stout stick has proved a sufficient deterrent (so far)…
On Temoe, a seabird census and vegetation survey was completed and a significant increase in Murphy’s petrel (several hundred to over one thousand!) was noted, from a similar survey made several years earlier.
Baseline surveys are being made for all sites which are being augmented with acoustic recorders as a means of tracking changes in the number of calls for species of interest.
More to follow shortly!
On behalf of us all,
Update 29 July 2015: here.