26 May 2008

Kiribati gets NZ help for Phoenix conservation project

1:47 pm on 26 May 2008

Kiribati is being supported by New Zealand's Department of Conservation with the Phoenix Islands Restoration Project to establish the largest protected marine area in the world.

Three islands in the group have been chosen for the first stage of the project where invasive animals such as rats and rabbits will be eradicated.

Other project partners include the government of Kiribati, the Pacific Invasives Initiative and Pacific Expeditions to protect endangered species on the islands.

DOC's Keith Broome says NZAid funding has helped the Kiribati government to proceed with the project, and a team is now there to begin a field assessment.

"Looking at the bigger picture this is the beginning of dealing with invasive species on the islands in the Kiribati group but this particular project has got limits and that's really to make a start on the three most important islands and to involve Government of Kiribati Agriculture and Conservation staff as much as possible so that they begin to raise their ability to manage their own issues on these islands."

DOC's Keith Broome