Flora and Fauna of Easter Island

Flora of Easter Island

Over three thousand years ago, the island was covered with woods and had more than 40 arboreal species, which have become extinct due to human depredation. Today, the earth is arid and it is covered by pasturelands. The isolated woods are mainly eucalyptus, which was introduced later. Of the 34 native species preserved, some brought by the first immigrants, the toromiro was in serious danger of extinction. It is a tree of very hard wood, which was very popular due to its use in local primitive craftwork. It literally disappeared from the island, but some seeds were saved, which allowed cultivating new plants in the national botanical garden with the purpose of reintroducing them in the island. Other species such as seaweed and the corals that live under the sea have a smaller size than before, when they served as the eyes of the ancient moai. Today, they are used in craftwork.

Fauna of Easter Island

The fauna also suffered ecological depredation, caused by human overpopulation occurred in a previous period. Today, there are certain birds such as the Tavake (tropical bird) and the Makohe (frigate bird), as well as some shearwaters and terns. In the past, the legendary Manutara (sooty tern) also visited the island. The marine fauna is varied. The ura or great sized lobster stands out, as well as some fish like the Nanue, the Poopó, the Toremo, the tuna (kahi), and other species of great consumption. There are also funny-shaped fish, such as the Titeve or porcupine fish, the trumpet fish, the boxfish and the butterfly fish (called Tipi-tipi by locals). In the rocky places under the sea there are several types of winkles, most of them small. The locals use them to make necklaces.