Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Today Is Nauru Appreciation Day!!!!

We received a visitor from Nauru yesterday. No, I didn't know where it was, either. Nauru is a tiny Pacific island known for its phosphate mining. There is one endemic passerine, which is supposedly the only passerine on the island. So, in honor of our lone visitor from Nauru, we are hereby declaring January 31, 2006 to be "Nauru Appreciation Day."

Did you know that: Nauru is the world's smallest independent republic?

Did you know that: the Australian dollar is the official currency of Nauru?

Did you know that: Nauru joined the U.N. in 1999?

Did you know that: Nauru's national airline, Air Nauru, had its last plane impounded in December 2005?

Did you know that: Nauru has two tourist facilities--a hostel and a luxurious hotel?

Did you know that: The Australian government, in a controversial decision, once paid Nauru "aid money" to accept almost 1,000 Afghan asylum seekers?

Did you know that: Nauru once tried to become an offshore banking and financial center?

Did you know that: Nauru is the only country in the world without a capital city?

Did you know that: Nauru used to be called "Pleasant Island"?

Did you know that Nauru has severed its diplomatic ties with China, and established ties with Taiwan? Nauru is always trying to cause trouble! As they say in Nauru: "God's Will First!"

We can all sing Nauru's National Anthem, to this tune:

Nauru our homeland, the land we dearly love,
We all pray for you and we also praise your name.
Since long ago you have been the home of our great forefathers
And will be for generations yet to come.
We all join in together to honour your flag,
And we shall rejoice together and say;
Nauru for evermore!

And finally, here is the BirdLife International entry on Nauru:


General characteristics Nauru, an independent nation, is a raised limestone island (21 km2) in the west-central Pacific, and is a Secondary Area on the basis of its single-island endemic, Nauru Reed-warbler Acrocephalus rehsei. Vegetation includes mixed plateau forest with a few remaining areas of atoll forest; about two-thirds of the island has been mined for phosphates (Davis et al. 1986) but extraction is now carried out on only a small scale.
In 1993 A. rehsei was found to be relatively common and widely distributed in remnant forest on the steep sides of the escarpment, in gardens on the coastal strip and in regenerating areas on the plateau (B. Fletcher in litt. 1995).
Although the species does not appear to be under any immediate threat, it is considered threatened (classified as Vulnerable) on account of its tiny range which renders it forever susceptible to chance events such as cyclones or the introduction of alien predators.
And what a beautiful endemic it is:

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