The mao is vulnerable to both man-made and natural threats, with habitat destruction being the main threat to this species (3). Originally, logging was responsible for large-scale habitat destruction, but still left some inaccessible forest. Now, however, slash-and-burn cultivation threatens these remote, inaccessible upland habitats as new access routes are created (2) (3).
Cyclones have also been a real threat to the forests of Samoa, removing much of the canopy cover; for example, in 1990 and 1991 cyclones Ofa and Val reduced cover to 27 percent of that present the previous year (6). Fires can also destroy the forest habitat of the mao, particularly during times of drought (3).
Another threat to the mao is invasive tree species like pine (Pinus spp.) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.). These not only decrease the quality of the forest, but take advantage of cyclone destruction to spread more rapidly. There is also a small threat of hunting to this bird, despite the practice being illegal for over ten years (5) (3). The mao is also at risk from introduced predators, such as the Pacific rat (Rattus exulans), which is believed to have contributed to its extinction on American Samoa (3).
In 2007 it was thought that only 500 maos remained in the wild, and this number is unfortunately still continuing to decrease (2).