Guam – The Guam Department of Agriculture [DoA] has announced a ceremony to celebrate the release of 16 captive-bred Ko’Ko’ birds on Cocos Island tomorrow [Tuesday].
The ceremony will take place at 3 pm at the Cocos Island Resort Pier in Merizo.
Guam DoA, Park & Rec,, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Cocos Island Resort all entered into an agreement in January 2009 to create a safe habitat for the Ko’Ko irds. The “Safe Harbor Agreement” they signed outlines conservation initiatives and provides protection for private landowners against future land use restrictions due to the presence of endangered species on their property.
Cocos Island presents an opportunity for Guam residents and visitors to see the Ko’ko’ birds in the wild. The project aims to have at least six breeding pairs of Ko’ko’ birds every year of the agreement. In the future there may be opportunities to establish on Cocos Island other birds that are extinct on Guam but still exist in the Northern Marianas Islands.
The Ko’Ko’ bird is also known as the Guam rail. It is the territorial bird of Guam and was found only on Guam. Ko’ko’ birds are listed locally and federally as Endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act.
In the mid-80’s the last of the Ko’ko’ were collected from the wild to protect the species from the invasive brown tree snake. Through successful captive breeding the Ko’ko’ still exists in breeding facilities in Mangilao and in 17 mainland zoos. Every year about 100 Ko’ko’ are released on the snake-free island of Rota in an effort to establish and preserve the species.