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Hawai'i & Tropical Pacific
The Tropical Pacific is the epicenter of the current global extinction crisis

The amount of biodiversity sustained within the Tropical Pacific is staggering: 5,330 species of vascular plants, of which 3,070 are endemic. The area is home to 290 regularly occurring bird species, roughly 160 of them endemic. There are fifteen species of bats, 11 of which are endemic. There are also more than 60 species of native terrestrial reptiles in the conservation area, including seven snakes, the saltwater crocodile and more than 50 lizards. Over 30 reptile species there are endemic.

Invertebrate diversity in the Tropical Pacific is high for certain groups, particularly land snails, which are a conspicuous feature of Pacific Island ecosystems. The Hawaiian Islands have more than 763 species, of which 748 are endemic. The Samoan Islands have 99 native species, of which 64 are endemics.

The island ecosystems of the Tropical Pacific are exceedingly vulnerable to habitat degradation and the introduction of invasive species. Due mainly to these threats, species extinction rates are among the highest in the world, especially for birds and reptiles. Invasive mammals are the single largest threat to the tropical Pacific’s biodiversity. Since 1500, at least forty-three species have gone extinct including twenty-five bird species, victims of invasive species and over-hunting.

Isolation has left the island biota extremely vulnerable to invasive species. The native biota of the islands evolved for millions of years in the absence of mammalian predators, and the introduction of rats, pigs, goats, feral cats, and mongooses has had a devastating effect on small vertebrate populations on many islands. In some areas, birds also are threatened with extinction from avian malaria that was introduced with alien mosquito species. Some non-native species of ants and snails have also been highly destructive when introduced.

Protecting Native Plants and Animals

Invasives are the single largest threat to this areas biodiversity. Removing invasive species from key sites is the highest priority for abating this potential tide of loss. Island Conservation has the ability to stem that tide and make a lasting improvement for the health of biodiversity in the region.

Click here to learn about our work on Palmyra Atoll and Lehua Island or explore our project on Tahanea Atoll in French Polynesia to save the Titi!

Vegetation on Palmyra Atoll


Featured Island
Millions of seabirds depend on the protected habitat of Palmyra Atoll for survival. Learn more about how you are helping ensure their continued existence.

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