Campaign raises awareness about Samoa’s elusive and Critically Endangered bird, the Manumea.
On islands throughout the world, birds have evolved to be suited to just one region and nowhere else. This is the case for the national bird of Samoa, the Manumea, which evolved only on the western island of Samoa and is currently facing extinction.
The Manumea, also known as the Tooth-billed Pigeon, is an elusive bird that is only found in remote parts of the island’s forests. The species has evolved without predators, which makes the introduction of invasive feral cats and rats devastating for the species. Manumea are not found on Samoa’s nearby islands such as Fiji and the only species that appears to be related to it was native to Tonga has gone extinct.
Manumea face a number of threats in the wild including predation by invasive feral cats and rats. The bird plays a vital role in Samoa’s native forests as a seed distributor. Now, as invasive plants continue to be introduced the species is losing the fruiting trees they evolved to eat. These changes in their natural habitat due to invasive species are only part of the puzzle.
Manumea are vital to the health of Samoa’s island ecosystem but very few people have seen the species in person. The lack of connection to the species and its alarming decline have stimulated a national campaign to gain people’s attention in the fight to save the Manumea. Conservationists are focused on an overall education effort to help protect the Manumea and make it a valued and recognizable icon.
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