Scientists in Samoa have issued a dire warning about the fate of the national bird, which features on the country’s bank notes and coins.
Acccording to ABC News the manumea has been on the brink of extinction for several years.
Conservationist Gianluca Serra is leading a team employed by the Samoan government to stop the bird from disappearing.
He told Mandie Sami of ABC News the situation was desperate.
“There are probably only a few dozens birds left in Samoa,” he said.
Serra said the manumea is a species of pigeon and is special because it is only found in Samoa and is the last surviving relative of the extinct dodo bird.
He said hunting was a major issue.
“We realize that they are being hunted by mistake because apparently people don’t like the manumea’s meat but they kill the manumea while they are targeting another pigeon they like.”
Serra added forest logging and invasive species like rats and cats also put the survival of the bird in danger.
“You know our job as conservationists is pretty depressing,” he said. “Every year the planet is losing hundreds if not thousands of species.
“There is not enough awareness and interest by governments and people.
“Public opinion is so interested about cats and dogs but they don’t know that there is wildlife out there and they need help, so it’s really hard. There’s no money there, only few people are interested in it.”
Serra and his team are working with local villages to establish protected areas and controls around hunting.
Listen to the full interview on ABC News.