Manumea Friendly Villages
The Save the Manumea Campaign focuses on five local communities who are working with Samoa Conservation Society (SCS) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Enviroment) MNRE to save the National bird of Samoa, the Manumea (Tooth-billed Pigeon Didunculus strigirostris)
The key supporting communities (Uafato, Malololelei, Falease'ela, Salelologa and A'opo) are known as Manumea Friendly Villages (MFV)
(Map) Signs are currently being installed to identify these villages and murals have been painted in several.
There have been confirmed sightings of the Manumea in these key areas in the last 10 - 15 years. The villages of Uafato and Falease'ela have established by laws to enforce the ban on pigeon hunting, with a fine for those who break them. The Campaign aims to encourage this example in other key villages and then nationwide.
Uafato Village in Fagaloa Bay boasts an impressive Conservation Area. The Uafato Nature Trail was recently restored as part of the Save the Manumea Campaign.
Hiking up the steep 700m trail to the newly constructed bird hide is well worth the effort to see first hand the stunning views of the Uafato Rainforest where the Manumea was most recently sighted in 2017 by a group of scientists researching in the area.
The Uafato Nature Trail and Bird hide is a nature eco tourism attraction site which brings benefits in terms of income for the village.
Falease'ela is a key village where conservation is a focus. The falease'ela Environment Protection Society (FEPS) is an active organisation which recognises the importance of protecting and conserving the natural and cultural heritage of their village and surrounding areas.
FEPS is involved in habitat restoration and pest control for the Manumea and other endemic birds of Samoa in partnership with MNRE, SCS and Auckland Zoo. Work parties from the village including matai (chiefs) men, women and youth regularly plant and maintain native seedlings eg kava, maota and asi toa. To date, 19,000 trees have been planted in an area of 1200 acres.
The Manumea was last seen in the nearby rainforest in 2006 but the village are hoping to entice it back by creating a sanctuary for endemic birds.
Check out the conservation work being done by the Falease'ela Environment Protection Society here
The Malololelei Recreational Reserve consists of 30 acres of land donated to the Samoan public by Fa'amausili Andrew Ah Liki. The reserve boasts a lookout with spectacular views over the valley and out to the harbour and contains several nature trails.
Bird enthusiasts often visit the reserve at dusk to see native birds like the Ma'o (Ma'oma'o), White-throated Pigeon and kingfisher (Ti'otala)
MNRE works extensively in this area on pest control activities in partnership with Auckland Zoo and the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust (PDCT) and on habitat restoration activities with SCS and the local community.
A mural of the Manumea and Ma'oma'o by local artists brightens up the carpark in the reserve.
MNRE & SCS held village consultations regarding the Manumea Recovery Plan at Salelologa in October 2019 which were well attended. The photo shows Moeumu Uili, a staff member from MNRE giving a presentation. Moe and her team spotted a juvenile Manumea at Salelologa in 2014 and photographed it. Read more about it here.
There have also been recent unconfirmed sightings of the Manumea in the nearby Tafua rainforest.
Local artists from Savaii and Upolu painted a brightly coloured mural of the Manumea at the market at Salelologa where it is seen by market shoppers and bus passengers every day reminding them of the need to save our national bird.