Christmas Island is an island full of natural wonders. This small tropical island supports 254 endemic taxa, including 5 endemic bird species. It is an internationally significant seabird island, providing habitat for thousands of seabirds including the critically endangered Christmas Island Frigatebird and Abbott’s Booby.
Along with the amazing bird and animal life, Christmas Island is home to two Ramsar-Listed wetlands.
Unfortunately, the rainforests these birds rely on are being destroyed by highly destructive phosphate mining. These demands are of high commercial interest as the demand for palm oil, and therefore, fertilizer grows. Phosphate mining requires the removal of forest cover and topsoil which makes regeneration almost impossible.
Mining can also facilitate the effects of invasive species. Christmas Islands invasive species, including black rats, cats, yellow crazy ants, wolf snakes and an invasive vine, directly prey on endemic species as well as disrupting the forest structure.
BirdLife is calling on the Australian Government to commit to an end of mining on Christmas Island and to continue to improve the control of invasive species. There is also an urgent need for further research on threatened taxa to facilitate direct conservation actions to ensure long-term survival of these species.
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Photo credit: Sarah Summers, Deanne Gaskill