Bird experts on Kauaʻi are using all the tools in their toolbox to keep critically endangered forest birds from going extinct. One honeycreeper species, ʻakikiki, could disappear from the wild this year due to mosquito-borne avian malaria, with another species, ʻakekeʻe, not far behind. Warmer climates in recent years have allowed invasive mosquitoes to move to higher elevations, increasing the risk of disease to native forest birds. While conservation partners wait for final approval of a proposed mosquito birth control, also known as the Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT), they are stepping up their use of other, more traditional tools to give the birds a lifeline.
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After multiple rounds of testimony from students across the state, the Hawaii State Legislature designated 8.08 as Hawaii Honeycreeper Celebration Day. Events to celebrate our honeycreepers are taking place across the state this month. For a full list of events, you can check out the event listing on the Birds Not Mosquitoes website, where you can also learn more about the testimony given by our own Kaua’i students.
Check out this cover feature in the OHA newsletter, written by Lisa Eller, discussing why Kauaʻi’s highly endangered ʻakikiki and akekeʻe face extinction without intervention. You can view the article at KAWAIOLA NEWS.
Another ʻAkikiki has been recovered from the forest, deep within the ʻAlakai Plateau. The ʻAkikiki rescue missions began last December when it was discovered that only a handful of ʻAkikiki remain in the wild.
KFBRP Leader, Dr. Lisa “Cali” Crampton, was recently featured on BBC Earth Witness: Voices from the Conservation Front Line. In the interview (see video above), Cali explains why she (and the rest of the KFBRP staff) is so passionate about saving Kauaʻi’s forest birds and how KFBRP is tackling this challenge.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), a significant amount of federal funding will be sent to Hawaiʻi to help address the extinction crisis facing at least four species of native Hawaiian birds, including Kauaʻi’s ʻakikiki and ʻakekeʻe.
In the first feature of Forests for Life, KHON2 covers the grim future of Hawaiian honeycreepers, which are facing imminent extinction without significant intervention. In the video below, you will learn what KFBRP is doing to save the ‘akikiki.