The Marquesas Archipelago, French Polynesia is located almost 900 miles (1500 km) northeast of Tahiti and 3000 miles (4800 km) west of Mexico, making it one of the most remote island groups in the world. The islands are mostly of volcanic origin, with characteristically steep cliffs that rise to high-elevation, mountainous peaks and are prone to droughts lasting several years.

WHY IS THE MARQUESAS ARCHIPELAGO IMPORTANT?

  • Hosts 22 species of seabirds, which play an essential role in terrestrial and marine ecosystem health.
  • Provides vital habitat for many endemic plant and animal species, meaning they are found nowhere else.
  • A community of 9,000 people depends heavily on the local resources available to them.

THE PROBLEM

The Marquesas Archipelago is home to a unique array of threatened and endemic plants and wildlife, but clearance of habitat and the introduction of invasive species, including rats and feral cats, have driven many species to the brink of extinction. Today, ten endemic land birds remain on the islands, although their survival is tenuous, often with only one population surviving on one island. Nesting seabirds across 22 species, two of which are endangered, depend on the islands, and face invasive species as the leading threat to their survival.

THE SOLUTION

Island Conservation, SOP Manu, Birdlife International, and the local community from UaHuka successfully removed invasive rats from Teuaua Island in 2018, effectively protecting a population of 90,000 Sooty Terns. Teuaua was the first step towards scaling up restoration efforts within the archipelago, but invasive species are present on almost all of the Marquesan Islands. If the issue is not addressed, native species will inevitably disappear. Island Conservation and our partners are working to remove invasive rats, and feral cats from seven of the nine uninhabited islands to prevent further extinctions.

THE RESULTS

Removing invasive species from these uninhabited islands would significantly benefit threatened biodiversity, including four highly endangered bird species and endemic vegetation. Preservation of these native birds, which each have their own Marquesan name, has deep cultural implications for the community since almost every species plays a vital role in traditional culture. Beyond the impacts for biodiversity conservation, restoration of these ecosystems will directly benefit the people of the Marquesas through increased productivity of natural resources and food security.

PROJECT'S STATUS

Teuaua has been freed of invasive rats, allowing native seabirds to thrive and protecting natural resources for the nearby community. Next, the partners will remove invasive rats and cats from seven of the archipelago’s uninhabited islands but need additional financial support to implement the project. Restoring these islands would secure habitat for the Marquesan Monarch and other native birds, provide more breeding grounds for vulnerable seabirds and prevent further biodiversity loss in the Marquesas Archipelago.

A gift to Island Conservation in your estate plan will build a legacy and assure a future in which island species thrive. By including Island Conservation in your will, your estate may receive significant tax savings. A designated sum or a certain percentage of a residuary estate can be donated or consider making Island Conservation a full or partial beneficiary of your IRA, 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan.  If you choose to provide for Island Conservation in your estate plans, please contact the development manager at giving@islandconservation.org or 831-359-4787.

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Gifts of long-term appreciated stock are an easy way to provide crucial support to Island Conservation and increase your giving. Benefits may include: income tax and capital gain tax savings. Consult your financial advisor on the potential benefits.

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The Pension Protection Act of 2006 gives those at least 70½ years of age the opportunity to make tax-free charitable gifts, including the minimum required distribution.

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Donating real estate to Island Conservation may give you a tax deduction on the fair market value of the real estate and help you avoid the capital gains tax you may incur if you were to sell the property.

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Midway Atoll conservation