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Fiji Time: 3:47 PM on Friday 19 September

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Joint fight

Sherita Sharma
Saturday, November 10, 2012

TWO international conservation groups have joined forces in the fight against invasive species and to protect the native birds and biodiversity of islands in the Pacific region.

Island Conservation and BirdLife International signed an agreement in Fiji this week to contribute to preservation efforts in protecting biodiversity.

The BirdLife Pacific Partnership has been working to address this problem by destroying introduced predators from islands in Fiji, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Palau.

Island Conservation has wiped out pests from more than 50 islands worldwide and recently expanded its operations in the Pacific.

The decline and extinction of numerous Pacific island birds and wildlife, such as Fiji's native crested iguanas have been caused by the introduction of invasive species includes rats, mongoose and feral cats.

Regional director of BirdLife International Don Stewart said Pacific Island countries would benefit greatly from the partnership.

"This is good news for the Pacific Island countries for it strengthens our ability to address the threats that invasive species pose to native birds throughout the region, many of whom are facing extinction," he said.

Island Conservation's Pacific Regional director Dr Ray Nias said: "Although islands only occupy five per cent of the world's land surface, they have seen 80 per cent of the world's extinctions and are home to 40 per cent of all critically endangered animals.

"It is therefore a privilege for us to join forces with Birdlife International to help prevent the extinction of Pacific island species threatened by invasive pests," Dr Nias added.

Both conservation groups advocate the sustaining of biodiversity strongly.

BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that works with people to protect birds, and their habitats through sustainable use of natural resources.

Since setting up its office in Fiji in 2003, it has had a regional presence.

Island Conservation, a California-based non-government organisation focuses on protecting native animals from extinction by removing invasive pest species in small islands.


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