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Welcome to Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust blog page, where we publish short articles, news pieces and research reports on Cook Islands biodiversity, nature and environment in which they live.

This website is a companion website to the Cook Islands Biodiversity and Ethnobiology Database (CIBED). This website is a portal for information sharing through the publication of short articles showcasing Cook Islands plants, animals and other organisms. The articles also cover topics of relevance to our living world, such as geology, climatology, ethnography and conservation.

Check out our latest articles below or visit our Blog page or use the All Categories Index to find more interesting and exciting articles on Cook Islands natural heritage.

  • Cook Islands Humpback Whales – Part 1
    Gerald McCormack, CINHT The dedicated researchers in the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, including Nan Hauser, have made a large contribution to the recent explosion of information about Humpback Whales. Although science is always a “work in progress” this seems like a good time to review [continue reading…]
  • Cook Islands Humpback Whales – Part 2
    Gerald McCormack, CINHT Soviet illegal whaling I came to Rarotonga in 1980 and over the next few years periodically saw a humpback or two. At that time Ron Powell and George Cowan told me that humpbacks were not seen for many years and they were keen to make a documentary to tell people that whales [continue reading…]
  • Is Mangaia the oldest island?
    Gerald McCormack, CIHT In the Quarantine Quiz (CINews 29 May) the oldest island in the Pacific was listed as Mangaia at 18 million years (Ma). This idea gained popularity with the 2010 publication entitled “Tangi ke – Welcome to Mangaia – The oldest island in the Pacific”, by the [continue reading…]
  • The spread of the “farmers friend” – the myna
    Gerald McCormack, CINHT The myna is locally much loathed as a pest, yet it arrived in the early 1900s with such high hopes as the “farmer’s friend”. We follow its triumphant march from India to many countries, including the Cook Islands. The “farmer’s friend” The Common Myna is indigenous to [continue reading…]
  • Black Shouldered Lapwings – a rare vagrant
    Gerald McCormack, CINHT On the 30th of August, Maureen Goodwin saw two unusual birds on her inland Muri lawn. She Googled and identified them as Australian Southern Lapwings rather than the Northern due to the black ‘ei kakī (collar). Over the next few days, the birds fed, ran over the lawn, and [continue reading…]
  • Te Ko’u summit biodiversity
    Gerald McCormack, NHT The inland mountains of Rarotonga maintain one of the most pristine tropical forests in the Central South Pacific. The biodiversity crowning glory of the inland forest is in the Cloud Zone, which is recognised by the occurrence of two particular ferns. Depending upon the [continue reading…]
  • Huntsman spiders -harmless and useful
    Gerald McCormack, CINHT The largest spiders in the Cook Islands are the two huntsman spiders: the Brown Huntsman (Heteropoda venatoria), and the Noble Huntsman (Heteropoda nobilis). Their long slender legs have a span to about 12cm, although they have relatively small bodies – to 3cm long. [continue reading…]

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