Renbel asks Birdlife International to survey rhinoceros beetle

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By Mike Puia

THE Renbel provincial government has requested Birdlife International to also consider conducting a survey on the presence of the coconut rhinoceros beetle that is reported to have arrived in the two-island province recently.

In a meeting with a team from Birdlife International that left for East Rennell yesterday, the Renbel provincial secretary, Adrian Tuhanuku, said the province would like the team to also include the coconut rhinoceros beetle in its surveys.

The four-member team, which is accompanied by the chairman of the Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association, will spend more than two weeks in Rennell, mostly in East Rennell, to conduct a survey on the black ship rat that threatens the East Rennell’s World Heritage Site status.

The black ship rat is one of the factors that placed East Rennell on the World Heritage Site in danger list in 2013.

Tuhanuku said the black ship rat is a concern for the province.

Tuhanuku said the province welcomes Birdlife International’s effort in trying to understand the rat’s presence and how it can be eradicated.

He said eradicating the rat means the province is able to strike out one of the items in the list of threat to the World Heritage Site.

Logging, invasive species, over-exploitation of coconut crab and other marine resources, climate change are other factors that placed east Rennell under the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Tuhanuku said recent reports that the coconut rhinoceros beetle has arrived in the province triggers a huge concern for the province.

He said the province is interested to see the team also extending its survey to cover the coconut rhinoceros beetle.

Tuhanuku said having data about invasive species, like the beetle, would provide the province a basis it can use when appealing for support.

He said at the moment the province has no information about invasive species in the province and so unable to convince supporters outside the province to step in and help.

The Provincial Secretary said having a copy of the findings of ther survey would help strengthen the province and Birdlife International’s future collaborations.

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