Photo Thomas Ghestemme
However, there is hope. Between 2008 and 2017, some juveniles left the nest and have colonized the protected areas. Juveniles are easily identifiable by their white to brown feathers; the adults are entirely black. Thus, 6 young Monarchs were observed regularly in 2017, unheard of since 2008!
A huge thank you to all the sponsors, institutional partners and individuals, without whom this bird would have already disappeared from the planet!
Feral cats were another threat. At the beginning of the conservation programme in 2008, 10 % of birds were spotted tailless. The lack of feathers on the tails is characteristic of cat predation. To escape predators, birds give up their feathers.
Main results have been:
These results are all good news for the Fatu Hiva Monarch. However, its situation is still critical with only 4 fertile couples in 2017 for the whole species.
A lot needs to be set up, swiftly. Hiring a technician native to Fatu Hiva to closely monitor the monarch population has been a major step. The program also benefits from the involvement of landowners. However, there is still a great need for fundings in order to carry on and avoid the extinction of the Fatu Hiva Monarch.