New Caledonia Rivers & Streams

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La Guen River, New Caledonia, France.
© WWF-Canon / Roger LeGUEN

About the Area

New Caledonia is located in the region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. The climate of the islands is tropical, and rainfall is highly seasonal. New Caledonia is an ancient fragment of the Gondwana super-continent and still carries many unique and endemic plants and animals of Gondwanan origin.

Its main island is covered with rivers and streams (many of which originate from the island's mountain chain) that are home to many unusual and endemic fish, crustaceans, snails, invertebrates, and plant species.
Size:
15,000 sq. km (6,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Small Rivers

Geographic Location:
South Pacific Ocean: New Caledonia (France)

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered
Local Species
Ten species of freshwater shrimp, at least 4 species of rare freshwater sponges, over 70 species of freshwater fishes, and at least 50 species of hydroid snails have successfully invaded these island waters.

Five species of migratory eel occur in this ecoregion: Anguilla mozambica, A. marmorata, A. megastoma, A. obscure, and A. reinhardtii. The freshwater Snake-eel (Lamnostoma kampeni) is also an unusual inhabitant of these waters.

Also found here are a wide array of mollusks, including four genera of freshwater spring snails (Kanakyella, Pidaconomus, Caledoconcha, and Leiorhagium) that have recently been described.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Roger LeGUEN
Horned Parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus), New Caledonia, France.
© WWF-Canon / Roger LeGUEN
Threats
Threats include mining, agriculture, grazing, logging, bush fires and associated water pollution. New Caledonia's biodiversity is threatened by a number of factors. Like many island biotas, its species were poorly equipped to deal with introduced species like the rat, cat, dog and pig. These have taken a toll on species like the ground-living Kagu.

The New Caledonian Rail and the New Caledonian Lorikeet have not been seen for over a hundred years and are considered to be critically endangered if not actually extinct. New Caledonia is considered a conservation priority by many organizations, and work is underway to preserve the islands' unique ecosystems.
WWF’s work
WWF's New Caledonia Tropical Ecoregion Program, established in 2001, aims to protect priority areas and species, encourage natural regeneration of the dry forests, create protected areas, stop land clearing for agriculture, increase public awareness of dry forest, and control and limit forest fires.

New Caledonia tropical forests are one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions. The Global 200 is a science-based global ranking of the Earth's most biologically outstanding terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats.

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