At 18 million years old, beautiful Mangaia is thought to be the oldest island in the Pacific. It is a volcanic island, ringed by steep 200-foot cliffs made of fossil coral called makatea.
Mangaia’s isolation has not protected it from invaders–plants and animals that prey on or compete with native species. These newcomers are a major cause of island extinctions. The common myna, a bird from Asia, is a ferocious invader. It is the biggest threat to the Mangaia kingfisher, or tanga’eo, a striking bird that is endemic to the island.
The tanga’eo lives primarily in the forested areas around the island’s perimeter. The communities of Mangaia will protect all of the this habitat, banning cutting of the trees that the cavity-nesting bird favors. Preserving this habitat will also help other endangered species, including the coconut crab, reed warbler, and the big fruit bats known as flying foxes.
Seacology funding will go to repair a school building and buy tools and equipment for island youth who want to learn skilled trades. This practical education will help them find work as carpenters, electricians, or auto mechanics on Mangaia. The community hopes these new opportunities will help stem the tide of youth leaving in search of education and jobs.