Preventing Extinctions - Pacific

An immature Tahiti Monarch: the 2014/15 season recorded the highest number (20) of surviving young birds (less than 4 years old) since monitoring began. Photo: SOP-Manu

The Pacific has more threatened bird species per unit of land area than any other region in the world, and is home to around a quarter of the world's globally threatened bird species. Pacific birds evolved on tiny, oceanic islands, in isolation from predators and competitors. Mans arrival, the associated introduced species, such as rats, cats, pigs, and invasive plants and subsequent habitat modification resulted in a wave of extinctions - half the species present when man first arrived are thought, now, to be extinct.

Our partners are currently working to reduce the pressures on a number of species across the region, including 15 of the Endangered and Critically Endangered species - those most at risk.  There have been some heart-warming success stories, such as the Rarotonga Monarch, or Kakerori, in the Cook Islands which, following direct action increased from just a few pairs on one island to the current situation with a healthy population on the one island and an increasing, second population on a black-rat free island to provide security.   We hope to repeat this success story for other threatened monarchs in French Polynesia. 

We have short-term, costed, action plans for the most threatened species and are always seeking funds to facilitate the progression of the conservation status of these species to a more secure position.

Sixteen species that occur in the region that are classed as Data Deficient, together with a further nine listed as Critically Endangered that haven’t been seen for decades. We encourage greater efforts to address these gaps in our knowledge.

Some of our most enigmatic species, the ocean-going petrels, are threatened both while nesting on land, and while feeding out to sea.  We need to understand better how these birds use their environment, and what measures we can take to provide them with greater security.

To find out more about the work that Species Guardians are involved in across the region go to the following pages.

You can download State of the Birds reports for several Pacific countries here: