[Coral-List] FW: Pagan Island

Paulay,Gustav paulay at flmnh.ufl.edu
Mon May 21 07:35:42 EDT 2012

Hi All - A great cause for your signature, for one of the few relatively unspoiled islands in the Pacific.  Cheers - Gustav Paulay

From: Michael G. Hadfield [mailto:hadfield at hawaii.edu]
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2012 11:18 PM
To: Paulay,Gustav
Subject: Pagan Island

Dear Gustav,

I am writing to ask for your help in an effort to save a beautiful Pacific island and its plants and animals.

You may recall that I led a group of ?snail hunters? to Pagan Island, in the Northern Mariana Islands in May 2010 as part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife assessment of the ?biological resources? of the island.  Our specific task was to find Partula gibba, an endangered tree snail whose range extends from Guam, in the south, to Pagan Island in the north.  We camped on Pagan Island for 12 days and searched most of the accessible terrain.  We found the snails and determined that they were genetically distinct from all other populations in the Marianas.  Every bird we saw was native, many endemic, to the Marianas.  The rare Micronesian fruit bat was relatively common on Pagan, and there were wonderful endemic plants and insects.  Despite the smoking volcano in whose shadow we camped, we all left with a sense of wonder about the rugged beauty of the island and its native biota.

The reason for concern when we went to Pagan Island was the desire of the U..S. military to use it for target practice.  While that threat may have waned a bit, we?ve now learned that the cash-strapped government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, wants to make a deal with a Japanese company to sell the volcanic ash at the foot of volcanic Mt. Pagan and to give a long-term lease to the same company to use the island as a dumping ground for tsumani debris.  The Japanese company wants 2,000 hectares of this island, amounting to nearly half of it and most of the somewhat level part of the island.  This is unconscionable!  Beautiful, biologically rich Pagan Island should never become a dump for another country.  The Chamorro people who consider Pagan their home island should never have to fear for its future.

My graduate student, David Sischo, who was part of our team on Pagan, has created a blog devoted to encouraging protection of Pagan Island, which I encourage you to visit:


Look at Dave?s beautiful photos of the island and its biota.  I think they will give you reason to sign the ?Save Pagan Island? petition you will find there.

Please also direct your friends and colleagues to the website and post it on facebook.


Michael G. Hadfield, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Kewalo Marine Laboratory
University of Hawaii at Manoa
41 Ahui Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 539-7319
FAX: (808) 599-4817
E-mail: hadfield at hawaii.edu<mailto:hadfield at hawaii.edu>

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