Four Kauaʻi Forest Birds Slated for Extinction

Kauaʻi ʻŌʻō, last seen in 1987 before hurricane ʻIniki, Photographed by Robert Shallenberger /USFWS

In a recent story in the Garden Island Newspaper,  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has moved to declare four Kaua‘i forest birds extinct. The birds are among 23 plants and animals nationally, including nine from Hawai‘i, that are slated for removal from the endangered-species list due to lack of evidence indicating their survival. None of the listed Kaua‘i birds have been observed for decades.

It is a very sad time for Kauaʻi, who has lost the following species: the Kaua‘i ‘akialoa (Akialoa stejnegeri), not seen since 1960s; the Kaua‘i nukupu‘u (Hemignathus hanapepe), not seen since 1899; the Kaua‘i ‘o‘o (Moho braccatus), last observed in 1987; and the kama‘o (Myadestes myadestinus), also see for the last time in 1987.

In the absence of any natural defenses, Hawaiʻi’s forest birds are particularly susceptible to mosquito-borne diseases. The transmission of these diseases is being exacerbated by climate change, which may be responsible for increasing the range of non-native pests like mosquitos and giving the forest birds an unfair disadvantage for survival. In fact, many of Kauaʻi’s forest bird species are rapidly declining and scientists are scrambling to implement practices to preserve the populations that remain.

You can read the full story in the Garden Island Newspaper.