he Republic of Palau is biologically and culturally rich. The country’s exceptional wildlife assemblage includes twelve bird species found nowhere else in the world and a phenomenal diversity of marine life, including sea snakes and 700 coral species. Diverse and unique ecosystems including marine lakes full of jellyfish, limestone forests, sea grass beds, and mangrove stands all contribute to the biological wealth of the region.
Palauans have long shared the land and waters with native plants and wildlife. In Palauan society, reciprocity and respect are important values not only between community members, but also between the community as a whole and the natural environment.
However, the presence of introduced, damaging (invasive) species puts Palau’s forests and wildlife at risk of extinction and threatens human livelihoods. Removing these invasive species will protect Palau’s biodiversity and support the local industries that are steeped in traditions that support the balances of nature.
To protect local livelihoods and biodiversity in Palau.
Palau’s native island species are flourishing, resulting in healthy, restored ecosystems. In balance with the natural world, Palauan culture and livehoods are safeguarded and thriving.
Invasive species, such as introduced rats, are destroying Palau’s unique plants and animals, the security of food supplies, tourism resources, and the Rock Islands World Heritage Site.
The Koror State Government Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement (DCLE), Island Conservation, and others are partnering to restore islands in Palau by removing invasive rats. In 2017, we removed invasive rats from Ngeanges Island to protect native species like the Micronesian Megapode. Restoration of Kayangel, in partnership with Palau Conservation Society, BirdLife International, and Kayangel State Government is planned for 2018.
CROP DESTRUCTION : Invasive rats cause severe damage to important crops in Palau, such as corn (maize) and taro, by devouring them before they can be harvested. The loss of crops results in a decline in revenue, preparation of traditional meals, and is forcing many women out of their traditional and important cultural role as farmers.
PALAU FLYING FOX : The Palau Flying Fox (Pteropus pelewensis) is found in Palau and nowhere else on Earth. Not only is this fruit bat critical to the health of the region’s island ecosystems, but it is also a popular feature in traditional Palauan cuisine. The Palau Flying Fox depends on intact native forests to thrive.
MICRONESIAN MEGAPODE The Endangered Micronesian Megapode (Megapodius laperouse) uses its large, powerful feet to build giant nest mounds on the forest floor where they lay their eggs. When the chicks hatch, they dig their way out of the mound and must fend for themselves; they are highly vulnerable to invasive predators such as rats.
HAWKSBILL SEA TURTLE The Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) is a migratory species that is listed as Critically Endangered. Hawksbill Sea Turtles lay their eggs on sandy beaches. When they hatch, they are highly vulnerable to invasive rats and feral cats. Removing invasive species from Palau will help support successful reproduction and survival of Hawksbill Sea Turtles.