Returning to the worlds they left behind

Thursday May 23, 2013

Today the team reflect on the potential success of their expedition to save Suwarrow’s seabirds, and ready themselves for their return trip to the real world.

The final baiting of Anchorage took place today. With the crew from the Vaka enthusiastically joining in and taking instructions from the now very experienced Suwarrow rat eradication team. The weather is looking fine and clear so the omens are good for a successful eradication of the rats.

Motu Tou is still a bit of a question mark. Effected by the rain during the first baiting when checked yesterday there wasn’t as much bait on the ground as expected.

We are all hopeful that the eradication on Motu Tou will be a success. However, only time will tell as the rats are very difficult to detect if they are present in low numbers. It will be necessary to monitor the island over the coming months and years.

Yesterday’s survey of Motu Manu showed a large colony of frigatebirds the majority being Lesser Frigates. This is very encouraging as Lessers have a lower global population than the larger Greater Frigates.

There was quite a strong south-easterly wind blowing yesterday which caused some waves across the lagoon. Harry the head ranger was driving so we were in safe hands as the dingy pitched over the waves in a frightening manor. The spray had soaked us all by our return to Anchorage.

With the South-easterly forecasted to swing to the east the Vaka (traditional boat) is due to leave in the outgoing tide tomorrow at 8 am. We are hoping for good winds and a following sea for Rarotonga.

It’s a sad thought to be leaving Suwarrow and our friends the rangers. Tonight we will have our farewell feast of fresh fish - then it’s back to the worlds we left behind ...





About BirdLife

BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. They're the World's largest partnership of conservation organisations.

The BirdLife Pacific Partnership comprises a network of six national conservation organisations as follows: BirdLife Australia – Australia; Te Ipukerea Society – Cook Islands; Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie Manu – French Polynesia; Société Calédonienne d'Ornithologie – New Caledonia; Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society Inc – New Zealand, and; Palau Conservation Society – Palau. Together they are tackling the biggest threats to the region's threatened wildlife such as invasive species, habitat loss and climate change.

Acknowledgements: The expedition to remove rats from Suwarrow National Park is a joint project between BirdLife International, Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife Partner in the Cook Islands) and the Cook Island National Environment Service. The project is being kindly supported by the European Community, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, SPREP, GEF and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and forms part of the BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme which is tackling this greatest of threats to wildlife around the world. BirdLife wishes to thank the efforts of many who are supporting the programme including Pacific Invasive Initiative, Pacific Invasive Learning Network, New Zealand Department of Conservation the University of the South Pacific, Landcare Research New Zealand, Island Conservation, Wildiaries and Nick Hayward. The BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme urgently needs your support to tackle more sites and save more species. To support our work and make a donation today, please go to Thank you.