Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.
Ua Pou Monarch Pomarea mira is currently listed as Extinct, and has been since it was elevated to species status in the 2006 Red List update. It is known only from the island of Ua Pou in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. After the last accepted record in March 1985, it was not located during 1989, 1990 or during intensive searches in 1998 and 1999 (Thibault and Meyer 2001), and was therefore considered extinct. Its decline was probably caused by habitat loss and degradation, owing to over-grazing and fires, and introduced species such as black rats Rattus rattus.
However, hopes that the species is extant have been raised by an unconfirmed but convincing report of an adult male observed on Ua Pou in 2010, and as a result surveys are planned for 2012 (P. Raust in litt. 2011). Following this report, it has been surmised that some individuals of this species may survive, although they may not survive as a population (P. Raust in litt. 2012). Any remaining birds may only number up to 10 and may consequently be difficult to locate and survey owing to reduced vocal activity.
In light of this information it is proposed that the species be reassessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct), on the basis of an increased likelihood that some individuals survive. Comments on this proposed category change and further information would be welcomed.
Thibault, J.-C. and Meyer, J.-Y. (2001) Contemporary extinction and population declines of the monarchs (Pomarea spp.) in French Polynesia, South Pacific. Oryx 35: 73-80.
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