Lawmakers want NPS to help save native Hawaiian birds


HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hawaii’s native forest birds maintain a fragile existence.

The Department of Lands and Natural Resources is work tirelessly to protect the native birds of these islands.

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But, the task has been an uphill battle with many invasive species of animals, insects and plants that endanger the lives and habitats of these rare and special birds.

On Friday, March 17, the Congressional Delegation from Hawaii – U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representatives Ed Case (D-HI) and Jill Tokuda (D-HI ) – announced that they have taken action to help protect native bird species by sending a letter to Charles “Chuck” Sams, Director of the National Park Service (NPS).

THE letter urges the NPS to prioritize its efforts to create a solution to protect Hawaii’s critically endangered native forest birds. The delegation requested that the NPS use funding from the Cut Inflation Act, passed in 2022, to continue efforts in Maui’s Haleakala National Park.


“As the National Park Service determines how to implement the Cut Inflation Act, we urge you to continue to prioritize this urgent work as these culturally and ecologically significant birds are at risk of extinction,” they said. writes lawmakers.

The endangered status of native Hawaiian forest birds is due to things like avian malaria. As temperatures rise around the world, the habitat of these birds is being invaded by invasive mosquitoes capable of migrating further into the mountainous areas where the birds live.

  • A photo shows an apapane at the Pu'u Maka'ala Nature Preserve on the island of Hawai'i in January 2023. (Photo/Department of Land and Natural Resources)
  • Christmas, an ʻakiapōlāʻau, wears bands that identify them in the wild.  This is an endangered species of Hawaiian honey that lives in the Pu'u Maka'ala Nature Preserve on the island of Hawaii.  (Photo/Department of Lands and Natural Resources)
  • 'Akikiki search and rescue, Alakai Plateau (Photo/Department of Land and Natural Resources)

Entire populations of native Hawaiian forest birds were wiped out by an outbreak of avian malaria in the 1900s.

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“Four Hawaiian honey bees are threatened with extinction within the next ten years,” the lawmakers continued. “If we lose these special birds, we also lose the essential roles they play within the native ecosystem and a part of Hawaiian culture. Unless we take significant action now, they will be gone forever.

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