Conservation benefit: Protection of 4,500 acres of forest habitat of the Mangaia kingfisher (tanga’eo) for 15 years
Community benefit: Refurbishing school building, purchase of tools and equipment for skilled trades courses
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 (makatea).
Mangaia’s isolation has not protected it from invaders–plants and animals that prey on or compete with native species and 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 communities of Mangaia will protect all of the tanga’eo habitat, primarily in the forested areas around the island’s perimeter, banning cutting of the trees that the cavity-nesting tanga’eo 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, helping to stem the tide of youth leaving in search of education and jobs.
- May 2018
- Much of the construction work is now complete. The community is hoping to open the school at the end of July. The kingfisher habitat around the island is being protected.
- January 2018
- All materials are now on site, and construction work began in December 2017. The rafters are complete, and the builders have started on one side of the half walls.