Guam - 16 captive bred ko'ko birds were released into the wild this afternoon on Cocos Island. The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and Cocos Island Resort and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife teamed up to create a safe habitat for the endangered species. The project is part of conservation efforts under the Safe Harbor Agreement, which was signed by the parties in 2009.
Diane Vice, wildlife biologist with DOA, says the birds were fitted with radio transmitters and their progress will be monitored. "The number one goal for this project is to have them in a place that the public and visitors to Cocos Island can see them, but we will learn a lot about the birds just with their nesting and maybe areas where they choose to put their nests we are going to learn about their survival and hatching success," she explained.
The last of the wild ko'ko birds on Guam were collected in the mid-1980's in order to protect the species from the invasive brown tree snake. Vice says every year about 100 ko'ko birds are released on the island of Rota in an effort to preserve the species.