SWAINS TINY POPULATION AN ‘ENDANGERED SPECIES’

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 18) – A former representative for American Samoa’s Swains Island, Wally Thompson, says only when the island is under water due to climate change will residents consider relocating.

There were two recommendations made over Swains in the report of the Future Political Status Study Commission.

[PIR editor’s note: Swains Island, an atoll in the Tokelau chain, is politically tied to American Samoa, about 170 miles to the south.]

The first was that Swains Islanders consider relocating to the main islands of Tutuila in order for them to receive the public services they are entitled to.

The second was that the selection of the Swains island delegate be made more practical.

But Mr Thompson said that Swains islanders do not want any changes made.

He said that with more regular boat trips to the island, more people would be moving back to Swains.

Mr Thompson said the United States spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect turtles and birds on Rose Atoll and it should also consider protecting Swains islanders as they are an endangered species.

The Commission’s Executive Director, Fofo Sunia, explained that Swains is private property and the fact that there were only 12 people living on the island made the delivery of services cost prohibitive.

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