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Fatu Hiva: Fledglings, Mud, and Local Honey

Island Restoration Specialist Jason Zito shares the latest update from the Marquesas Islands, highlighting the richness of Fatu Hiva.

By: Jason Zito

Kaoha nui!

I’m on Fatu Hiva with Tom Ghestemme of SOP Manu to continue work with the Fatu Hiva monarch team led by Arthur (Ara) Matohi; as always the action began immediately upon arrival.

The team has been hard at work and their efforts have been paying off; the island is seeing higher juvenile fledging rates as well as an estimated 25% increase in breeding population recruitment! Arthur and Ara have basically refined themselves into a rapid response team of sorts, utilizing remote cameras to inform and support efficient restoration efforts.

The island is seeing higher juvenile fledging rates as well as an estimated 25% increase in breeding population recruitment!

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Fatu Hiva landscape. Credit: Jason Zito/Island Conservation

I love coming back here to see how the team’s strategies evolve to meet the demands of the conditions they face. I am very pleased and proud that our refresh times become shorter and shorter with each visit and I am delighted to no end to see the innovations and ideas the others come up with to improve the efficacy of their labors.

At this particular moment the weather on Fatu Hiva (and in the Marquesas in general) has been unseasonably wet, dare I say even monsoon-like at times. The already challenging terrain is not made any more tractable by the resultant mud; the others of course make it look like just another walk in the park, but at the end of the day we all have the tell-tale signs of butt-slides that are just a fact of life with the work we are doing here in the valleys and mountains of Fatu Hiva.

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Fieldwork on Fatu Hiva. Credit: Jason Zito/Island Conservation

In such conditions with thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss, it is important to keep one’s strength up. I have been maintaining mine with the excellent locally baked baguette and raw local honey produced by the renaissance man that is Ara-superb!

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Fresh baked bread and local honey. Credit: Jason Zito/Island Conservation

The others of course make it look like just another walk in the park, but at the end of the day we all have the tell-tale signs of butt-slides that are just a fact of life with the work we are doing here in the valleys and mountains of Fatu Hiva.

Tom and I have another few days of work on Fatu Hiva, after which he will return to Tahiti and I will return to Ua Huka with Tehani where we will continue on with restoration efforts on Teuaua.

Featured photo: Fatu Hiva Landscape. Credit: Jason Zito/Island Conservation
Versión en Español/Spanish transcript

About Jason Zito

Jason received a BS in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Humboldt State University. The bulk of his experience has been in the field of invasive species control. When not working, Jason enjoys the outdoors, cooking, self-subsistence, and most other good times in general.

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