What Animals Live on Easter Island?

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animals on easter island

Easter Island is an extremely remote volcanic island in Polynesia, a territory of Chile. The original name is Rapa Nui. It is popular for archaeological sites, including almost 900 monumental statues called moai, built during the 13th–16th centuries by the inhabitants. The moai are human figures carved with enormous heads, often sitting on solid stone pedestals called ahus. Ahu Tongariki has the largest Upright Moai community.

Animals On Easter Island

reptiles on easter island

Due mainly to its total isolation, there is not much variety of Easter Island species. In its terrestrial species, there is no indigenous mammal. There are species of Maori rats AKA Rattus exulans introduced by the first Polynesian settlers and only two species of reptiles: the Gekkonidae (Lepidodactylus lugubris) locally known as moko Uru-Uru Kau and the lizard (Cryptoblepharus poecilopleurus paschalis) known as moko uri uri. There are no known snake species on the island.

Domestic Animals on Easter Island

goats easter island

Among the domestic animals brought to the island by missionaries in the 19th century are sheep and goats. In fact, the population of horses is immense (approximately 6,000 specimens) and is much greater than the number of humans. These horses are free to roam the island and can be found all over Easter Island.

Birds of Easter Island

birds easter island

Several native seabirds stand out, such as the frigatebirds or Makohe (Fregata minor). Other birds include the masked booby (Sula dactylatra), the Red-tailed Tropicbird or Tavake (Phaeton rubricauda), both of which can be seen in large groups in the Rano Raraku volcano emitting a distinctive shriek.

There are two kinds of seagulls (Sterna lunata) and (Sterna fuscata), locally known as Manutara, which appear to nest in the nearby Motus or Islets and on which the ancient Tangata Manu or Bird Man’s cult and ceremony used to be centred.

The sparrow, finch, Chilean Tinamou and Patridge are one of the species introduced. There are also a lot of chimango caracaras, a bird of prey of the hawk family, which have been brought in to control the rodent population but have reproduced considerably due to lack of predators.

Marine Life Around Easter Island

marine life easter island

Marine fauna is rich and abundant. One hundred sixty-seven species have been catalogued, of which almost 30% are native to the island. This is one of the highest levels of endemism for an oceanic island in the world, including animals that are unique in the world.

Outstanding ura or lobster and anglerfish. Among the fish are exist Nanue, poopó, yellowtail cod, mahi-mahi and tuna or kahi, which is the main component of the islanders’ diet.

Green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles appear in the Hanga Roa area from time to time. Fishermen often tend to run into various types of sharks, but an attack has never been recorded.

According to studies undertaken by Oceana, the island has experienced a troubling decline in fish over the last few years, largely due to overfishing. This scarcity affects not only the functioning of the island’s marine ecosystem but also the citizens of Rapa Nui, whose economy and culture rely on these resources.

Oceana suggests the development of a marine reserve in the Bay of Hanga Roa, where fishing will be limited. Well-preserved coral reefs, if embraced by the islanders, would greatly support and promote the recovery of local biodiversity.

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