09th December 2016 A detailed bird survey of the Fanrga’uta Lagoon Catchment area is being carried out this week by David Butler, a ornithologist from New Zealand.
Mr Butler is on contract with the Ministry of Environment, Energy, Climate Change, Disaster Management, Meteorology, Information and Communications (MEIDECC) with funding from United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) to carry out the survey as part of the Ridge To Reef project here in Tonga.
“The bird survey of Fanga’uta Lagoon is the first detailed look at birds there and it is intended to establish a baseline. The work can then be repeated in the future to see if management of the lagoon leads to improved conditions for birdlife,” Mr Butler said of the survey that he is carrying out.
Mr Butler, who is based in Nelson, New Zealand, has worked in New Zealand and many different countries in the Pacific, mostly in Polynesia, doing practical fieldwork on bird conservation and management of invasive species and strategy development.
Some of the strategy development plans he has worked on include the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAP’s) and National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plans (NISSAP’s).
Mr Butler started the survey on Tuesday, December 6 and will finish that off on Saturday, December 10.
He had carried out several previous birds surveys in Tonga for the Ministry, including working in the Vava’u Group as part of a BIORAP coordinated by SPREP, and of Late, Fonualei and Niuafo’ou Islands.
“The last two of these were particularly focused on the endangered malau or Polynesian megapode, and led to the production of a revised Recovery Plan for the species. I have also carried out bird work in New Zealand, Samoa and Niue,” Mr Butler added.
Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications