Conserving Samoa's Natural Heritage

Saving the Manumea

The Samoa Conservation Society, in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), are working together to save Samoa’s national bird, the Manumea (tooth-billed pigeon) and other endemic Samoan fauna while also improving long-term livelihoods impacted by COVID-19 with the support of a Rapid Response Grant from the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme.

The most effective way to foster community conscious conservation is to build on existing traditional knowledge of the environment and natural resources in communities. In light of the Global Covid-19 epidemic, it is more important than ever to save Samoa’s native biodiversity, notably the threatened Manumea and 16 other indigenous birds, as well as the two flying fox species.

Conservation | Save the Manumea - Fa'asao le Manumea | Upolu

The Manumea is Samoa’s national bird, but there are just about 150 left in the wild. The last reported sighting of a Manumea was in August of 2020 on Savai’i. The Manumea is an important symbol of Samoa’s natural heritage, as well as a tool for defending communities against the effects of climate change. It feeds on enormous native seeds that other birds can’t chew with its huge beak like a tooth-billed pigeon. It works as a vital seed disperser as a result, naturally rebuilding the native forest.

Despite a national ban on the hunting of all native flying species, the Manumea is currently Critically Endangered. One of the most serious threats to the Manumea is the hunting of another bird, the Lupe (Pacific pigeon). Villages like Uafato and Falease’ela have banned Lupe hunting to prevent the Manumea from extinction. This project will take place in Uafato and Falease’ela, two key Manumea Friendly Villages on the island of Upolu, and will help local residents protect and preserve their rainforests and wildlife.

Are you saving the Manumea?

BIOPAMA Project Objectives:

  • management of threats to Manumea and other native fauna such as from invasive species and hunting
  • the restoration of degraded rainforests, including the planting of native trees
  • the raising of environmental awareness of the links between human health and the health of natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

BIOPAMA Project Outcomes:

  • Maintain livelihoods and enhance the resilience of local communities to major shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst effectively contributing to Protected Areas Management
  • Improved awareness of the urgent need to protect the national bird of Samoa and its natural habitat and improve livelihoods for families in Manumae Friendly-Village communities via the promotion of village-based ecotourism, forest restoration and threat management

Provided with the financial support of the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Program.


The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) program aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF), jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Building on the first five year of activities financed by the 10th EDF (2012-2017). BIOPAMA’s second phase provides tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions.

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