Preliminary biodiversity assessment of Kagalalo Conservation Area
A preliminary biodiversity survey was conducted in the Kagalalo Conservation Area in February 2019 to identify species of conservation value. Of particular interest are Bougainville giant tree rats (Solomys ponceleti) and the Bougainville monkey-faced bats (Pterolapex flanneryi), which are critically endangered. These mammals are endemic to the Bougainville and neighbouring Choiseul Province in the Solomon Islands. Biodiversity and habitat loss are contributing towards the loss of many of Bougainville’s endemic species.
The team was led by Director for the Kainake Project Dr. Jeffrey Noro and Dr. Tyrone Lavery, who is a conservation biologist attached to the Kansas University at the time. The preliminary study was conducted for a week to assess the health of biodiversity with a long term plan for a full biodiversity survey to be undertaken in the future. The team was fortunate to spot the critically endangered Pterolapex flanneryi indicating that the ecosystem was in good health and therefore needed a conservation plan to ensure its long term preservation.
Other species that were located in the conservation area included the Solomon Island Monarch, Solomon eyelash frog, and an unidentified frog of the Litoria genus. This preliminary assessment was conducted in partnership with the Australian Museum.