No good news on the Kulawai
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 8:00
City Parrots in Charmosyna amabilis - Red-throated Lorikeet, Conservation, Extinction

Kulawai, Red-throated Lorikeet (Photo by Bill Beckon, 1973)After four months of survey work, there has been no sign of the Kulawai in its presumed last stronghold around Mt Tomanivi.

Dr Kerryn Herman on site in NadalaDr Kerryn Herman, NFMV volunteer, departs Fiji this week after 10 weeks of exhausting survey work without any sign of the Kulawai, Red-throated Lorikeet. In addition three surveys with local ornithologist, Vilikesa Masibalavu in the same area have also failed to find any trace of this small member of the parrot family.

The absence of any sightings is a blow for the Kulawai project and underscores that this bird is extremely rare and the possibility that it may have gone extinct has now to be considered seriously. Fortunately, Dr Herman has taught two members of the Nadala community, bird survey skills which will enable them to continue the search and which may lead to the finding of the Kulawai. Taivesi Saukuru and Litia Taubere have worked with Kerryn on all her surveys and are now proficient birders.

Further intensive survey work later in the year will be undertaken by NFMV personnel together with specialists from BirdLife International. Surveys at different times of the year are important as the Kulawai is likely to roam great distances in search of flowering trees. Later in the year, the Vuga will be flowering in profusion around Monasavu and Tamanivi.

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