Published: 20 June 2023
Last edited: 20 June 2023
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The conservation and protection of the vulnerable seabirds, through the enhancement of the closed and protected areas management, is a Solution that the Kiribati Government is applying in Kiritimati Island. The island is a key biodiversity area for many global important colonies of seabird species, including the two endangered species, the Phoenix Petrel and Polynesian Storm-petrel, and one endemic species namely the Christmas Island warbler.                                     

The Solution reduces the impact of human-induced threats, and invasive species on the vulnerable seabird species and their habitat. It enables the Wildlife officer to manage and control activities that are happening within and around the closed/protected areas.  


Scale of implementation
Rangeland / Pasture
Invasive alien species
Legal & policy frameworks
Not listed
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Species management
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Species Monitoring and Research
Invasive Species Management/Removal
Loss of Biodiversity
Sea level rise
Invasive species
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of technical capacity
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction




Loss of diversity of the seabird species is a common challenge in Kiritimati Island. This challenge is caused by the following factors:

a) Increase in poaching due to the rapid increase of human population in the island. Locals are involved in the illegal activities such as killing of adult seabirds and collecting of seabird’s eggs for consumption.

b) Invasive species destruction. Cats and rats are the common invasive species in most protected areas, and they are very destructive as they eat seabirds (adults and juveniles) and eggs as well.

c) Climate change impacts the seabirds’ habitat.

d) Lack of enforcement and eradication activities carried out at the protected areas due to the lack of technical capacity and equipment of wildlife rangers to conduct these activities.    


  • Local Communities

  • Wildlife rangers

  • Tourism Authority

  • Kiritimati Land Management Division (KLMD)

How do the building blocks interact?

The two key success factors are connected in the sense that the developed integrated management strategy and action plan is implemented at the field by rangers, therefore, the rangers are highly required to undertake any training provided on the enforcement procedures, seabirds assessment and monitoring, and invasive species eradication.


  • Management plan for the protected areas in Kiritimati Island was developed and implemented.

  • The biodiversity and seabird species were protected and recovered.

  • The Wildlife officials were well equipped to conduct enforcement, monitoring and eradication activities.

  • The Wildlife officials were well trained on the enforcement procedures, seabirds monitoring, and invasive species eradication.

  • Local communities and other Government agencies were well aware of their roles and responsibilities in the conservation and protection of seabirds’ species.

  • Legislation on conservation and protection of wildlife were well strengthened and updated.


Kiritimati wildlife rangers are the front-liners in the conservation and protection of the seabird species in Kiritimati Island. These rangers take risks and put their own lives on the line to protect their vulnerable island seabirds, and have given so much precious time in the wild spending it for patrolling and monitoring the area for the sake of conservation. These rangers have encountered so many problems that could put their lives in danger such as obstructions and opposition from poachers. Despite the lack of capacity building on enforcement tactics and self-defense for them, these rangers are willing to execute their responsibilities in the wild without question. There are so many illegal activities at the closed/protected areas that they have encountered during their patrolling, but they managed to overcome and resolve them on the spot.

In the island, there are only 6 wildlife officers/rangers actively working on this field and they are responsible to look after and protect 6 closed areas and 3 protected areas/islets approximately. These rangers usually work in teams in every patrolling activities and other operation done in closed and protected areas including seabirds assessment and monitoring, and invasive species eradication. The rangers have been trained in conducting these activities, but they still have to go through refresher training to maintain their skills and knowledge on these important operations or activities.

In the last 20 years, the rangers managed to penalize those locals, who have been found to do illegal activities at the closed and protected areas. They have been through so many court proceedings and have also won most of them. The commitment and actions of these rangers in every operation, have contributed to the country’s economy through the fines, and most of all contribute to the health and lives of the vulnerable island seabirds.

Contributed by

m.bita_42928's picture

Mika Bita Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) - MELAD, Kiribati

Other contributors

Wildlife Conservation Unit (WCU) - ECD, Ronton, Kiritimati Island
Wildlife Conservation Unit (WCU) - ECD, Ronton, Kiritimati Island