Before the arrival of Europeans, you could see this bird from seashore to the deepest valley of Tahiti. Its population has now dramatically decreased and our ornithological society has been monitoring it since 1998.
Black rats are the main cause of the rapid decline of the monarch population as they prey on the nests and prevent the adults from mating.
Unfortunately, rats are not the only threat.
Tahiti is full of introduced species that put either the breeding, the chicks or the adults in harm’s way.
Invasive birds, plants, goats and the Little fire ant raise a very concerning issue the survival of the monarch.
If you wish to help the Tahiti Monarch, please click here or contact us : by email (email@example.com), by phone: +689 40 52 11 00 or on Facebook (Manu-SOP).
Common myna and Red-vented bulbul: invasive and aggressive species.
Since 1998, hundreds of rat-control stations have been set up throughout the areas sheltering monarchs. In 2009, our rat-control coverage doubled, including the higher Maruapo valley areas. We proceed through the use of traps and rodenticide.
Initiated in 2009, the first action was to scare away the invasive birds that were preying on the monarchs’ nests by shooting blanks, but it lacked efficiency. In 2012, a great help came from the Canary Islands. Susana Saavedra and her knowledge of invasive bird species allowed us to set up a network of traps for mynas and bulbuls in the coastal areas of the valleys. Within six months, about 2700 mynas and bulbuls were captured and removed from the nesting areas of the endangered Tahiti Monarch! One year later, a total of 5000 invasive birds were removed.
Even though the population declined between 2002 and 2012 (from 48 to 44 birds), there is hope. The number of birds leaving the nest has been increasing since 2009, going from 3 to 10 and more individuals per year. In 2019, the population reaches the number of 93 adults, and more than 35 couples are now protected.
The Polynesian Ornithological Society wishes to thank the French Polynesian Ministry of Environment (DIREN), the European Union, the French Government, BirdLife International (via Jensen Foundation) and the French Association of Zoological Parks (AFdPZ) for their financial support in 2016-2017.
Special thanks to the local sponsors: EDT-ENGIE, OPT, VINI and Intercontinental Resort & Spa Hotel for backing us up again this year.
The municipality of Punaauia is a valuable and unavoidable partner.
We are pleased to welcome the YUNE TUNG company in 2017, which is now also participating in the rescue program of the Tahiti Monarch.
We want to express our gratitude to all the volunteers who come and help on the field.
The municipalities of Paea and Punaauia support us formidably and we wish to thank them especially.
At last, we want to thank all the valleys owners who accept our presence during the execution of the project.
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, at 5 pm, the magnificent murals of the Tahiti Monarch painted by Charles et Janine Williams took place in Fare Ute (Papeete – Tahiti) as part of the Ono’u 2016 Festival.
Our most grateful thanks to the artists for the realization of this extraordinary work. Charles, helped by his wife, did not spare his pain throughout the week of the festival, to present to the world the Tahiti Monarch, an emblematic species of French Polynesia.
Blanvillain, C., Ghestemme, T., Saavedra, S., Yan, L., Michoud-Schmidt, J., Beaune, D., & O’Brien, M. (2020). Rat and invasive birds control to save the Tahiti monarch (Pomarea nigra), a critically endangered island bird. Journal for Nature Conservation, 55, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2020.125820
Blanvillain, C., Ghestemme, T., Withers, T., & O’Brien, M. (2018). Breeding biology of the Critically Endangered Tahiti Monarch Pomarea nigra, a bird with a low productivity. Bird Conservation International, 28(4), 606-619. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095927091700048X
Saavedra, S., Ghestemme, T. and Blanvillain, C. (2012) First control campaign for Acridotheres tristis and Pycnonotus cafer on Tahiti Island. PII newsl. 6: 3–4.
Ghestemme, T. (2011) Impact of introduced birds on Tahiti Monarch. PII newsl. 12: 4.