Environment - Cook Islands

In 1989, the kakerori (Pomarea dimidiata) was one of the ten rarest bird species in the world, with a declining population of just 29 birds in the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA) of southeastern Rarotonga. As a result of conservation management, the kakerori population rebounded, with up to 300 birds being recorded on Rarotonga and Atiu in 2004/05. The southern Cook Islands was, however, hit by five tropical cyclones over a 4-week period in February–March 2005, and much of the forest on exposed faces, spurs and ridges (traditional kakerori habitat) was severely damaged.

In 1989, the kakerori (Pomarea dimidiata) was one of the ten rarest bird species in the world, with a declining population of just 29 birds living in south-eastern Rarotonga. As a result of conservation management, the kakerori population has rebounded, with a minimum of 281 birds on Rarotonga and 19 birds on Atiu in summer 2004/05. Since 2001, the emphasis of management in the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA) on Rarotonga has shifted from the ‘recovery’ of kakerori to ‘sustaining’ the population at 250–300 individuals.

The Cook Islands signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in 1992. As a Party to the Convention, the Cook Islands Government committed itself and its people to conserve its biodiversity, to use it in a sustainable manner, and to share its benefits in an equitable manner. It also committed itself to control invasive species (the weeds and pest animals in natural ecosystems and agricultural systems), and to reduce the likelihood of future invasions.