Tonga is a group of islands spanning the South Pacific north of New Zealand. There are one hundred and seventy-six islands in this chain that span more than five hundred miles. Although only thirty-six of these islands are inhabited by people, most of them have plant and animal life. Throughout the year the temperatures remain in the 80s. The colder months will be in the lower 80s, while the summer months the temperatures will only climb to the high 80s. Rainfall in this subtropical climate averages from sixty-five to one hundred ten inches a year. The combination of mild temperatures and abundant water have allowed life to flourish.
Many of the animals seen on Tonga are not endemic to the island. Some of the life here can be found in Melanesia to the west of the Tonga islands, but there are many species unique to this area. Like other islands, there are no indigenous mammals or amphibians. However there are birds, reptiles, insects, and marine life found here. Some of it is unique to Tonga. There are two birds native to the islands that are found no where else in the world. One is called the Polynesian Megapode. With no predators, this bird flourished before the arrival of man. Laying its eggs on the ground, they were easily taken by people when they first arrived. At one time there were five species from this genus, this is the last species left and is now protected by the government. The Tongan Whistler is the other bird that is only found in Tonga. They live in the forests found on the larger islands, but are also under pressure of extinction with their natural habitat being destroyed.
Click here for a list of endangered animals in Tonga
Dolphins, porpoises, and whales in TongaHector's beaked whale
Pygmy killer whale
Blainville's beaked whale
Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale
Bats in TongaInsular flying-fox
Large flying fox
Pacific sheath-tailed bat
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