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By Matariki Wilson

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 1) – Private marine consultant Teina Rongo is still conducting monitoring of the coral on the outer reef of Rarotonga in Cook Islands.

[PIR editor’s note: Rarotonga is the largest island in the Cook Islands and where the national capital is situated.]

Results from the annual project are expected to reveal the extent of damages sustained by the coral reef ring around the island during the five cyclones in early 2005.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, five cyclones hit the Cook Islands in just over one month causing damage that was estimated at US$17.8 million (See story).]

The project began in December 2005 and is due to be completed by early next month.

The team of experts conducting the survey is not only looking at coral damages caused by natural disasters such as cyclones but also by human influence.

Common human influences that can damage the reef include pollution from the disposal of household rubbish near or on the beach as well as the runoff of human and animal waste into the lagoons.

Antoine Nia from the environmental service says they hope to receive a report on the state of the coral from the surveyors soon.

April 10, 2006

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