A Survivor's Tale
Photograph by Tim Laman
In the Marquesas the ultramarine lorikeet, known as the pihiti, survives in relatively large numbers only on the island of Ua Huka. With no harbor facilities for large ships, this island has been spared from stowaway black rats, which have decimated bird populations elsewhere. Luck also played a part in the pihiti's survival. In 1940 a teacher moved four pihitis to Ua Huka from another Marquesas island. Rats had almost eliminated the other island's birds, but on Ua Huka two of the pihiti lived and became Adam and Eve for a population that now stands close to 2,000.