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Notice of Invasive Species Control Action to protect local ducks

Pago Pago — On Sunday, February 4, DMWR biologists were made aware of a vagrant Mallard duck frequenting the Coconut Point area of Nu’uuli. To our knowledge, this was the first record of a Mallard duck in American Samoa. The Mallard is not a native bird of the South Pacific but has been introduced to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and many island nations including Fiji and independent Samoa.


The origins of this Mallard cannot be known for certain, but it is possible that this individual came to Tutuila from independent Samoa aided by strong winds from recent weather events.


American Samoa is home to a very small population of Pacific Black Duck, locally known as toloa, that is native to the Samoan islands. The toloa is a priority species for DMWR because it is in danger of local extinction due to its small population, restricted range, and specialized habitat and feeding requirements.


DMWR biologists are currently working to study and protect this species in American Samoa with generous support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Introduced Mallards are known to present a major threat to native Pacific duck populations by spreading avian disease and through interbreeding. The potential threat presented by this individual made it necessary that we remove it in order to fulfill our mandate to protect native wildlife, and specifically the toloa.


For this reason, DMWR requested assistance from the Department of Public Safety to remove the Mallard with the cooperation of local families in Nu’uuli. This effort was successfully completed on Saturday, February 9th.


We would like to emphasize that all native birds in American Samoa are protected by law from being harassed, harmed, hunted, or killed, and that the Mallard did not present a threat to human health. We ask the public to continue in their reporting of sick, injured, or dead wildlife, and any unusual wildlife sightings, to DMWR.


As always, we are extremely grateful for assistance and cooperation from the public. DMWR would also like to extend our appreciation to the Department of Public Safety and the Nu’uuli families involved for their assistance and to Kelley Tagarino for alerting our staff to the presence of this bird.


source: DMWR