The future is looking a little brighter for seabirds in French Polynesia following the first successful removal of invasive rats and island in the Marquesas Archipelago.

An article of Island Conservation – 08 feb 2019

Read also on BirdLife International website – 13 feb 2019:
Momentous mission: first successful invasive species removal in Marquesas

Seabirds, often referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’, are critical to a healthy functioning ecosystem.
They boost the fertility of island soils by relocating marine nutrients to terrestrial environments.
These nutrients run-off into the marine ecosystem via natural weathering processes, enriching the surrounding waters, increasing coral productivity and the growth and abundance of local fish populations.

But invasive rats present on the island devoured seabird eggs and chicks and native plants.
Free from invasive rats, seabirds can once again safely nest and native plants can grow tall and thrive.

The project, implemented by the « Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie » (Manu), Island Conservation, BirdLife International and Association Vaiku’a i te manu o Ua Huka, will protect a nationally significant population of Sooty Terns.

The goal of the project was :

  • to restore habitat for native seabirds and plants by removing invasive rats from the island Teuaua,
  • to build confidence and capacity within the local community in the field of invasive species management,
  • to provide greater protection for the nearby island of Hemeni, an important refuge for seabird populations.
Sterne fuligineuse - Photo Fred Jacq

Sooty Tern – Photo Fred Jacq