The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock’s Biosecurity Department has completed a clean-up of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) in Rennell Islands. It has also seen evidence of coconut trees recovering from the pest.
The clean-up campaign was one of the first of its kind. The clean-up focused on six infected sites and communities in Rennell Islands. The western sites included Kangua Village, Tepongima and the logging camp of Mangautu. Bright lights at Mangautu attracted the CRB at night, resulting in severely damaged trees around the camp.
The province’s eastern sites included Tahanuku, Lavangu and the Lake Tenngano communities. The clean up around Lake Tenngano was noted for the strong involvement of the lake’s four surrounding communities.
MAL Biosecurity Director Francis Tsatsia said “we are very pleased with the support and initiatives the communities in Rennell have given to the clean-ups of the coconut rhinoceros beetle. We encourage communities to continue killing this pest and to cut and burn any infected pest from breeding”.
At each of the sites, MAL conducted community consultation, awareness sessions about the CRB and disseminated IEC materials to communities.
During the clean-up campaigns, Biosecurity Officers found evidence that some coconut plantations on the western side of Rennell Island were recovering from the CRB. This evidence demonstrates that action against the CRB helps save the remaining trees. Everyone is encouraged to CUT down infected trees, BURN the infected trees and KILL any CRBs to stop this pest from killing more trees.
The clean-up campaigns occurred after MAL’s Biosecurity Emergency Coordination Centre completed its delimiting surveys in Rennell Island to identify the spread and intensity of the CRB infestation in the province.