Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'oi Survey Completed!

The survey of the I'oi (Rarotonga Starling - pronounced "ee-oy") is complete and globally the number of birds is estimated to be around 1,000, all on the island of Rarotonga.
TIS Biodiversity Coordinator, Ana Tiraa says the survey stimulated greater appreciation for the I'oi amongst the community.
"The survey increased awareness of the bird for the 14 people that assisted with the field work and they passed this information on when talking to others about what they were doing," says Tiraa.
"Some of the volunteers didn't have a clue about the I'oi before the survey." she adds. The wider community was also informed about the I'oi through the newspaper and television advertisements to explain the survey and call for volunteers.
The I'oi lives only on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and nowhere else in the world.
The survey was lead by the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and TIS provided volunteers to assist with the field work.
The number of birds seen and heard were recorded from a number of mountain ridges around the island.
"This survey was a good partnership arrangement between the Natural Heritage Trust and Te Ipukarea Society," says Gerald McCormack of NHT.
University of Leeds student Carly Easby, working under the direction of McCormack will be completing a thesis on the study. Capacity assistance from the AAGE V. Jensen Foundation made it possible to hire Tiraa as coordinator of the volunteers. The Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), through Birdlife International (Pacific) provided funds for the hire of volunteers and the Darwin Initiative funded advertisements for volunteers. The photo for this story was provided courtesy of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust.

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