Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.
Rarotonga Monarch Pomarea dimidiata is endemic to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and has been translocated to Atiu. Its preferred habitat is humid forest on valley slopes. The species is currently listed as Endangered under criterion D1 on the basis that its population was thought to number fewer than 250 mature individuals.
However, survey data indicate that the number of mature individuals (yearlings and older in this species) has exceeded 250 since 2001 (H. Robertson in litt. 2011). The observed population growth since the early 1990s, faltering only due to bad cyclones in 2005 and the poor breeding season that followed, has been achieved thanks to intensive conservation work. The latest census, in August 2011 (supplemented by data from July 2011), has estimated the current population at c.380 birds, including 69 yearlings (Robertson et al. 2011, H. Robertson in litt. 2011), suggesting a population of c.310 mature individuals.
This suggests that the species should be downlisted now that the population has included more than 250 mature individuals with no evidence of a continuing decline for at least five years. It is proposed that the species now be listed as Vulnerable under criteria D1; D2, on the basis that the increasing number of mature individuals remains below 1,000 and it is still present at only two locations and thus still susceptible to extreme weather events and other stochastic factors that could drive it to qualify as Critically Endangered or even Extinct in a short time period. Comments are invited on the proposal to downlist the species to Vulnerable and additional information would be welcomed.
Robertson, H., Adams, L. and Cockburn, S. (2011) Status of Kakerori (Pomarea dimidiata) on Rarotonga, Cook Islands, in August 2011. Report to the Takitumu Conservation Area Project, and the Te Ipukarea Society as part of the project “Sustainable management of Rarotonga Flycatcher and Its Habitat”. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Conservation.