Caroline Islands Ground Dove
Gallicolumba kubaryi

This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a very small population which appears to be declining on at least one island, probably owing to hunting, predation and the increasing cultivation of sakau, the juice of which is consumed for its psychoactive properties.


Range Map for Caroline Islands Ground-dove

On Pohnpei, predation by introduced species (mainly rats Rattus spp. and cats) and excessive hunting may have caused some depletion3. The progressive loss or alteration of habitat is a further possible contributory factor, given a reduction of 37% in undisturbed upland forest from 1975 to 1995, largely attributable to the cultivation of sakau (=kava) Piper methysticum3,6. Long-standing tradition and custom have surrounded its use, but now there is a more widespread recreational demand with increasing clear-cutting of 1-2 ha plots, reaching to the edge of cloud-forest at c.600 m in some areas3. On Chuuk, the only remaining semi-original forest remains in tiny remnants on the higher reaches of a few islands.

Traditional leaders have been encouraged to adopt a programme to plant sakau in the lowlands, but resistance is high because the plant grows best on wet mountain slopes and is less likely to be pilfered in more remote areas3.

*Monitor population trends through detailed censuses7. *Preserve native and mixed forest remnants5,7, including atoll islets where human disturbance can be minimised and the introduction of predators prevented5. *Assess the extent of hunting in both Pohnpei and Chuuk7.

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