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Tuesday, april 30, 2013 cook Islands News

Marine scientists clear crown of thorns SiX staff from the Living oceans Foundation removed 215 crown of thorns starfish from Aitutaki’s reef in one dive last weekend. the starfish (known locally as taramea) feed on coral and when present in large numbers can devastate coral reefs. “each animal consumes about one coral colony per day and can eat all the corals within about a 10 square meter patch in a year,” says the expedition’s chief scientist Dr Andrew Bruckner. “multiply this by potentially thousands of animals in an outbreak, they can consume most of the coral around the entire island within a couple of years.” The starish are well known to the Cook islands with outbreaks in the early 1970s resulting in

community clean-ups in the islands. Currently one section on the eastern side of Aitutaki near Akaiami at about 35 feet deep was infested with them. “they’ve left a lot of dead coral behind as they’ve been advancing up the reef towards shallow water,” explains Bruckner. the distribution of the starfish is explained by their lifecycle. “When the starfish spawn, their larvae swim down to about 60-80 metres depth and there they feed on algae and grow,” says Bruckner. “After about 3-4 years the juvenile starfish emerge from the depths, switch their diets to coral and feed voraciously as they move up the reef slope

towards shallow water.” Bruckner is meeting with the Aitutaki island Council who have asked to discuss the issue. in the meantime, the team aboard the Golden Shadow are doing their best to help rid the Aitutaki reef of this pest. two divers collected a string of around 50 starish, which required three men to pull onto the dive boat. The starish will be destroyed by soaking in freshwater. - TIS/CIMPSC

A marine scientist collecting the pest crown of thorns starish in Aitutaki on the weekend.

Te Kainga receives India grant for van A neW transport vehicle for te

Kainga has been made possible thanks to a $50,000 grant from the indian government. te Kainga mental Health and Wellbeing Centre is very pleased to be receiving the grant, which has allowed them to purchase a services vehicle that will be used to transport clients to and from the centre. An order and a deposit for a 15-seater van has been made at motor Centre, says volunteer thomas ngauru, with the expectation that it will arrive in a

few months time. Despite the three month wait until the van is shipped over from Japan, ngauru says the centre is happy to wait and are “just glad it’s on its way.” ngauru, one of four volunteers and two nurses who work at the centre, says that up until now they have had to use their private vehicles for transport which involved multiple trips around the island each week. te Kainga currently has 25 to 35 people attending its programmes two days a week.

the new vehicle will save the centre in both time and money, and will allow for more people to attend their programmes for longer time periods. they are hopeful that with the arrival of the van they will also be able to extend their days from two to four a week. te Kainga is one of fifteen grass roots organisations in the Cook islands who have received funding from india, to a total of just under $200,000. - Rachel Smith


SWITCH ON with Te Aponga Uira

“SHUT THE FRIDGE DOOR” Every time you open your fridge door, cold air falls out onto the floor of the kitchen. The fridge’s motor and compressor pump then switch on to cool down the new air. The longer the motor and pump run unnecessarily, the more electricity that is used and wasted. Knowing this, it should be easy to understand why it is better to close the fridge door immediately after removing items!

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Tuesday 30 April  
Tuesday 30 April  

News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Tuesday, April 30, 2013