Conserving French Polynesia’s Acteon and Gambier Groups.

Images of Manui and Makaroa (P Raust)

Donor: British Birdfair

Project Impact: This project will eradicate rats, cats, goats and rabbits from up to six sites in French Polynesia’s Gambier and Acteon groups. This will improve the conservation status of six species Globally Threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List.

Overview: French Polynesia comprises 125 islands and atolls spread over 5,030,000 km2 of Pacific Ocean. These vast archipelagos have among the highest numbers of endemic birds for tropical Pacific islands exceeded only by the proportion that are globally threatened (37%). 

Invasive alien species are the main cause for the decline in all 25 of the Globally Threatened birds in French Polynesia, particularly from predation and competition by introduced mammalian predators such as rats and cats.

To address this, the BirdLife Partner SOP Manu, with the support of the BirdLife Pacific Secretariat, has been assessing the feasibility of securing threatened birds by eradicating mammalian predators from priority islands.

Vahanga Atoll, and islands within the Gambier archipelago are the highest priority sites for restoration and where preparations have been advanced.

This project will:

  • Eradicate rats, cats, goats and rabbits from up to six sites in the Gambier and Acteon groups.
  • Provide secure breeding habitat improving the conservation status of 1 Critically Endangered (Polynesian Ground-dove), 3 Endangered (Tuamotu Sandpiper, Phoenix Petrel, White-throated Storm-petrel), 2 Vulnerable  (Murphys Petrel, Bristle-thighed curlew) and 2 Near Threatened  bird species (Atoll Fruit-dove and Tahiti Petrel).
  • Establish biosecurity controls for nine predator free Important Bird Areas.
  • Develop significant, technical and organizational capacity within SOP Manu and other BirdLife Partners enabling restoration actions urgently needed elsewhere in French Polynesia, and the Pacific generally to be addressed.