The Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands, located near the equator and slightly west of the International Date Line, are spread out over 29 coral atolls and comprise 1156 individual islands and islets. During the mid-twentieth century they were the setting for much nuclear testing on the part of the Americans. The latter began in 1946 on Bikini Atoll after residents were evacuated. Over the years, 67 weapon tests were conducted, including the 15-megaton Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test, which produced significant fallout in the region. The testing concluded in 1958. Over the years, just one of over 60 islands were cleaned by the U.S. government, and many of the islanders and their descendants still live in exile as their islands remain contaminated with high levels of radiation. Many other low-lying islands are additionally threatened now by rising sea levels due to global warming, which threaten to submerge them entirely.

The Micronesian imperial pigeon (Ducula oceanica) is, as a species, found in the Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, and Nauru. The Marshall Islands imperial pigeon (Ducula oceanica ratakensis) is confined to the Marshall Islands.

The Micronesian saw-tailed gecko (Perochirus ateles) was historically found throughout the Micronesian Region and remains fairly common despite have been extirpated from some islands, such as Guam. It is threatened mainly by competition from introduced Pacific house geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) and by predation from feral cats.

Boettger’s emo skink (Emoia boettgeri) is found primarily in the Caroline Islands, where it has been recorded from Pohnpei, Sapwuahfik Atoll, and the Mortlock Islands. The species also occurs marginally in the Marshall Islands, where it known from three small islets within Arno Atoll and historically from Majuro Atoll as well. It is everywhere experiencing declines due to forest loss and degradation as well as from predation by invasive mammalian predators.