Environment Report

During 10–21 September, quantitative surveys were carried out of birds and flying foxes using the same techniques as applied in earlier surveys, and searches carried out for a rare parrot and lizard. Bird counts showed that the lupe or Pacific imperial-pigeon population has recovered following a decline between 1994 and 2004 though the current hunting rate is considered unsustainable. Miti or Polynesian starling numbers have gradually declined over the period 1994–2012 which is a concern and hard to explain. Rat predation is a possible cause.

Pacific island nations are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Cyclones and severe flooding have hit Yap, Niue and Fiji recently. Air temperature, the number of cyclones and sea level are all predicted to rise, and changes in rainfall are also predicted across the Pacific (1). Forces driving climate change are beyond the control of island nations. Pacific islands, while constituting 0.12 per cent of the world’s population, release only 0.003 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide from fuel combustion (2) .

Invasive species are plants or animals living where they don’t belong and causing harm.