19 Jun 2015

Operation Restoration - island update #3 - static shocks and successes

Operation Restoration - Acteon & Gambier island update #3
Operation Restoration - Acteon & Gambier island update #3
By Shaun Hurrell

Last week, we embarked on one of our most adventurous projects to date: a huge operation to restore remote tropical islands in French Polynesia. 

We have received a third report from Steve Cranwell – BirdLife Invasive Species expert in the Pacific, and logistical guru – who is in the middle of the Pacific, on an incredibly remote and uninhabited atoll in the Acteon & Gambier archipelagos:

Steve reports via satelite phone

8 June

On landing on Kamaka (midday) the offloading process commenced. Ended up a slow process in part due to rain/high humidity which increased the static electricity on the helicopter loading hook. The severe static shocks being received by the loading crews made the arrival of another load a less than welcome…

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

We're now sitting 200m off the edge of the atoll on a perfect day of sunshine, no swell to speak of and light winds which is expected to continue for at least the next three days. The helicopter is due to arrive in the next hour at which time we'll commence the final offload of fuel and equipment and complete the last of the preparations for the six sites. Wahey!

The other part of our team are focusing on the search and capture of any Polynesian Ground-doves. They were also building the aviary to hold any Ground-doves prior to transfer to a neighbouring rat-free atoll.

Everyone is good so far.  Technology-permitting will do another update tomorrow.


Please visit http://kriticalmass.com/p/savepacificbirds to show Steve, the team, Polynesian Ground-dove and nature your support for this incredibly important project. 


Six islands here are all vital for our global efforts to conserve Critically Endangered bird species Polynesian Ground-dove Alopecoenas erythropterus and other endangered birds, which are facing extinction because of non-native species (introduced by humans) such as rats, which eat their eggs and young. Removing the invaders is the immediate priority to save these native birds, other wildlife and restore the delicate ecological balance of the islands.

BirdLife International, with SOP Manu (BirdLife Partner in French Polynesia) and Island Conservation, is leading an extensive island restoration operation in a remote area of French Polynesia to save Critically Endangered birds species and restore the delicate ecological balance. Our ambitious project is restoring the Acteon & Gambier archipelagos to their former glory, safe and ready for the reintroduction of Tuamotu Sandpiper and Polynesian Ground-dove, and benefiting many other wildlife.

By sharing transport, equipment and expertise, we’ve significantly reduced the cost of restoring all six islands that are threatened, but is nonetheless our biggest project of the decade.

Additional technical assistance has come from the Pacific Invasives Intiative and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

This project has received support from many international and national organisations with significant funding from the European Union, the British Birdwatching Fair, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund; sponsorships from Bell Laboratories and T-Gear Trust Canada; and assistance from the Government of French Polynesia and many individual people around the world.

But crucially we still need your help! Please support us at http://kriticalmass.com/p/savepacificbirds

Feedback from our supporters:

“Let's work together to maintain biodiversity and contain damage done by human expansion.”

“Great project, worth supporting! Hope you meet your goal.”

“Take care, all involved with this operation.”

“My grandchildren will probably never visit these Polynesian islands, but that's not the point. Others will visit, and hopefully see birds which these donations have helped save.”

“great project . hope you'll succeed”

“Great, great cause. Hope you get to 100% soon”

“Massively important project”

“Just such a worthwhile project.”

“Make it beautiful.”

“Good luck with this urgent and essential work.”

“Great work guys - I wish I could join you”

“Thanks for doing this.”

“Make those islands paradise again! Some mistakes are reversible, we have to take responsibility.”

“These are amazing destinations that I shall never visit. But just to know that they stand a good chance to flourish well for wildlife is enough. Good luck with the venture.”

“I wish you success on every level of this very important initiative.”

“Glad you are there”

“Fingers crossed this eradication is successful”

“Best of luck! Great to see so many eradications happening globally.”

“i'm happy to be part of this achievment. good luck.”

“This is for a good purpose.”

“A worthy cause. Good luck.”

“Good luck with rehabilitating these island "arks"”

“You can have my Christmas present money - no-one I know is in need of more stuff. Good luck with your incredible efforts.”

“Good luck in achieving here what has been done successfully on other islands”