31 Oct The Unga (coconut crab) survey team in Mangaia
The Unga (coconut crab) survey team from Rarotonga and Mauke are in Mangaia to perform and undertake the second unga survey for the Cook Islands and is coordinated by the CI National Environment Service Ridge-to-Reef Project, and lead by Senior Environment officer, Ms. Elizabeth Munro.
The team consist of volunteers from the three villages on Mangaia.
Baits at allocated sites and baits are set using halved coconuts and return in the evenings to carry out the survey.
Since the teams arrival, 18 of 46 sites have been completed and 56 coconut crabs counted from within the Oneroa and parts of Ivirua areas. The biggest so far was a male crab measuring 61mm and is estimated to be around 24-years old.
During night searches, the crab encountered were captured, measured and its sex determined before its release. The age is determined by measuring the crabs thoracic length (hour glass).
The team from Rarotonga include, National Environment Service staff Elizabeth Munro (Senior Environment Officer), Olaf Rasmussen (R2R Project Officer), and Moana Tetauru (Media & Outreach Officer) and are joined by Mauke NES officer, Basilio Kaokao and Mauke’s Tutavake Moeau.
Both Kaokao and Tutavake from Mauke were participants from the first unga survey carried out in the Cook Islands on Mauke in October last year.
The team is hoping to complete up to 10 sites in Ivirua this evening before returning to Oneroa tomorrow.
The team would like to thank the Mangaia community, the volunteers, the Aronga Mana and Island Council for their hospitality, assistance and cooperation towards the unga survey.