Acridotheres tristis

Invasive plants and animals inflict much damage on native species and this is particularly the case on isolated oceanic islands with high degrees of endemism. Such islands commonly are important refugia for species of high conservation value. Some of the most pervasive and potent of invasive animal species are birds of the myna (Acridotheres) and bulbul (Pycnonotus) genera that historically were introduced to isolated islands as biological control agents for the management of insect pest species that can cause considerable economic damage to agricultural crops and wider ecosystems.

A programme to eradicate two species of myna from Kiribati was carried out between November 2014 and November 2015 by staff of the Environment & Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development with funds through the regional GEF-PAS Invasives project coordinated by UNEP and SPREP, assisted by international consultant Dave Butler.

This report is based on official trip made to Onotoa early this year 2014. IAS project under ECD together with ALD from MELAD was made to fulfill the obligation of ECD as an implementing agency. In 2012, there is a survey trip made to confirm the distribution and number of myna birds on Onotoa in order to set up appropriate actions to cease the disturbances and destruction caused by this bird.

This document builds on lessons learned from 10 years of DEC-MNRE action on the myna issue, training workshops on invasive species management, a 2015 myna population transect survey (conservative estimate of total population in Samoa between 129,407 and 188,583 birds), appropriate literature and experiences in Pacific and other countries. Recommendations are made on strategies and the priority information needed to implement those strategies.