27 Sep 2017

International campaign to save Samoa's national bird

9:54 am on 27 September 2017

An international campaign is underway to try and save Samoa's national bird, the manumea, from extinction.

There are estimated to be just a few hundred of the birds left.

Called the Little Dodo because it is a close relative of the long extinct Dodo, the manumea is described as a unique tooth-billed pigeon.

Our correspondent said few Samoans have seen the manumea, apart from its depiction on the country's twenty tala note and 50 sene coin.

Habitat destruction, rats, cats and hunting has left the bird critically endangered.

Now the Samoa Conservation Society has teamed up with Auckland Zoo and Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to try and save the bird.

It is getting help from the Darwin Initiative in the UK through the Australian National University and from the NZ Government's Pacific Development and Conservation Trust along with some help from Pelgar International.

Other partners, including Flinch Marketing in New Zealand, are developing a National Manumea Protection Campaign to reduce the impact of hunting on native birds and to protect their forest habitat.