1 Oct 2007

French Polynesia helps to re-establish a lorikeet population in the Cook Islands

6:58 pm on 1 October 2007

French Polynesia helped create a colony of the endangered Rimitara Lorikeet in the Cook Islands because it says the birds must be saved for future generations.

French Polynesia has given 27 of its multi-colored parrots to Atiu in the Cook Islands to establish a colony there.

The parrot died out in the Cook Islands and has only survived in French Polynesia's Rimitara Island and in parts of Kiribati.

Its most dangerous predators nowadays are ship rats and the programme co-ordinator in French Polynesia, Anne Gouni, says officials in Atiu must protect the birds and ensure its survival.

"In French Polynesia, we have only one population of lorikeets. It is important that we have several populations for rescue population [purposes]. The project is interesting. It is better to have a rescue population in the [the bird's] normal environment than in another area."

Anne Gouni says the island of Atiu offers the perfect environment for the parakeets, because it is very similar to Rimitara.