Invasive Species Threat Summary
The Rimatara Lorikeet Vini kuhlii is classified as ‘Endangered (EN)’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species occurs on the islands of Rimatara, in the Tubuai Islands of French Polynesia, Teraina, Tabuaeran, and Kiritimati in the Republic of Kiribati. A recent translocation of the species led to a number of individuals establishing on Atiu in the Cook Islands. The global population of V. kuhlii has been numbered at 2000 mature individuals (BirdLife International, 2012). The main invasive species threat to V. kuhlii is nest predation by black rats ( Rattus rattus). Pacific rats ( Rattus exulans and cats ( Felis catus), which are present on Kiritimati could be posing further predation pressures on the population (BirdLife International, 2012). The species is also believed to be threatened by the presence of the common myna ( Acridotheres tristis).
Invasive Species Management Summary
The species is protected in Kiribati and French Polynesia. 27 individuals were translocated to Atiu from Rimatara in May 2007 with the objective of creating a reserve population in the southern Cook Islands (BirdLife International, 2012).
A project targeting the control of A. tristis
was conducted over a 2695ha area on Atiu, beginning in 2009. The aim of the management operation was to improve the breeding success rate of V. kuhlii
on Atiu by reducing harassment and physical disturbance from mynas. Management action included poisoning, shooting, trapping, introduction of a bounty system, and destroying myna nests. In October 2010, a full-scale eradication was implemented with the addition of shooters. Management and eradication procedures are ongoing (CIPIP, 2011; McCormack, pers. comm.).
In May 2009, myna numbers were estimated to be about 6000 individuals; this number decreased to around 2000 individuals in December 2009, though an increase to approximately 3000 individuals was estimated in June 2010. In October 2010, myna numbers dropped to 2000 individuals again, and in October 2011, the numbers fell to to 1200. In March 2012, the myna population was estimated to be approximately 1000 individuals.
The numbers of V. kuhlii
on Atiu increased from 23 when they were first translocated from Rimatara in 2007 to 90 individuals in 2010 (CPIP, 2011; McCormack pers. comm.).