Two native bird species also categorised 'critically endangered'

Local bird species Puna’e and Ma’oma’o are also on the endangered list and will be monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).

The MNRE Chief Executive Officer, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, said while the Ministry is putting all its efforts into saving Samoa's national bird the Manumea – it will also monitor the Puna’e (Samoan Moorhen) and the Ma’oma’o or commonly known as the Ma’o.

The Ministry has started workshops to assemble and finalize strategies for the conservation and protection of the ‘Princess of the Forest', the Manumea. Similar conservation strategies will be used for the protection of other bird species such as the Puna’e and Ma’oma’o. The population of the Manumea is estimated to be less than 200. 

A report by Toeolesulu Cedric Schuster of Pacific Environment Consultants Limited (PECL) titled "Important Birds of Samoa" concluded based on its research that the other native birds of Samoa are "critically endangered". Critically endangered means it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future, judged to be a probability of 50 per cent in 10 years.

According to the PECL report, the critically endangered Puna’e has not been recorded in Samoa for over 80 years, apart from an unconfirmed sighting in the 1980s.

“Due to the absence of a full national survey to determine its status, the bird cannot be declared to be extinct as yet,” the report read.

The report added that the Ma’o is now only confined to higher altitude areas away from settlements due to the loss of habitat and predation from cats and rats.

“The Mao was once found throughout the country but is now it is recorded in very few areas and populations recorded from these areas usually number below 10 in each site," stated the report. 

The PECL report highlighted key threats to Samoa's birds which include invasive species, natural disasters such as cyclones and fires, habitat conversion causing loss of habitat and hunting and trade for domestic and local commercial market.

"The presence of rats and cats along with Common and Jungle Myna in the wild are seen as the main invasive species threat to the bird populations. 

"The biggest impact on the native population of birds was the devastation brought upon by Cyclones Val and Ofa in the early 1990’s," the report read.

To this day, 81 bird species have been recorded in Samoa; including 31 breeding native land birds, one possibly extinct native land bird (the Samoan Moorhen), 4 breeding introduced birds, approximately 10 breeding seabirds and 35 migrants or vagrants.

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