Te Ipukarea Society representatives at the recent BirdLife Congress held in Cambridge UK, Alanna smith and Ieremia Samuela. TIS/22092305
Te Ipukarea Society participants have recently returned back from the 100th Birdlife Anniversary and Global Congress event held in Cambridge UK.
by Alanna Smith and invasive species volunteer Ieremia Samuela, the pair connected
in with 119 other global civil society partners representing over 13 million
individual members who make up BirdLife International.
is the world’s largest and oldest international partnership that works closely
in nature conservation. The international organisation operates through local
to global strategies aimed at achieving long term conservation benefitting both
nature and people.
example, BirdLife’s projects not only protect native and endemic birds, but go
beyond by restoring habitats to benefit birds, the wider ecosystem and people.
Social benefits have included an increase in healthy lifestyles worldwide through
birdwatching. This trend has economic significance for nations that have
endemic or native bird for keen birders who need to tick birds off their global
Pacific Partners who attended the congress included French Polynesia (Ornithological
Society of Polynesia – Manu), Fiji (Nature Fiji), Palau (Palau Conservation
Society), Australia (BirdLife Australia), New Zealand (Forest & Bird) and
Te Ipukarea Society.
a part of the Pacific Birdlife partnership creates opportunities for networking
and regional learning. Neighbouring countries can learn from and support one
another on regional issues such as biosecurity implementation for invasive
species as well as regional support in protecting threatened migratory birds.
week long congress also included the global BirdLife awards ceremony. The
Takitumu Conservation Area was one of three globally recognised conservation
groups awarded with the “Conservation Achievement Award”. This prestigious
award was based on the TCA community management efforts in working closely with
traditional landowners to bring back the Kakerori, Rarotonga Flycatcher from
the brink of extinction.
just 33 years, since 1989, the population has increased from only 29 birds to
around 1000 today. This was achieved mainly through the annual rat baiting
second population was established by relocating some birds to Atiu, which is
free of ship rats. This “insurance” population will help the birds survive the
impacts of any catastrophic events, such as cyclones, on Rarotonga.
BirdLife, Te Ipukarea Society has acquired key skills in rat eradication
projects, which have been applied in Suwarrow (national park), working
alongside the National Environment Service.
eradication and invasive species management on uninhabited and habited islands
within the Cook Islands are areas we want to work more closely in, especially
with the Pa Enua showing interest in wanting their islands to become rat free. Effective
biosecurity will be key to restrict the reinvasion and further spread of
invasive species, once eradication is completed.
eradication of rats not only benefits nesting seabird populations, but also has
food security benefits for inhabited islands where farmers would no longer have
to worry about rats damaging their crops. Eliminating rats also encourages
nesting seabird populations to grow, which in turn supports the cycling of
nutrients from sea to land, enhancing coral reef productivity and functioning.
the BirdLife Congress was a valuable opportunity to reconnect with likeminded conservationists
from around the world.
10-year strategy to save nature was also adopted with a focus on three core
themes that include birds, science and partnerships – whereby bird species are
protected by where they live; science from partners around the world is used to
conserve the 13,000 Important Bird and Biodiversity areas and global partnerships
mobilise society including governments, NGOs, youth and the private sector.
and people provide a reason for hope. Saving the Kakerori proved extinctions
can be prevented and populations can recover. Birds are a species worth flying
high for. Our future depends on it.