Saturday, May 05, 2007

Biologists surveying Kauai's forests

Over yonder, in the Pacific Ocean, the native birds face a real struggle for survival. The Aloha State is again checking on the species' numbers.

A 2005 survey deep in the Alakai Wilderness Area, as well as recent reports, "suggest that populations of the remaining native forest birds may now be in rapid decline due to a collection of threats that may include loss and degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals and disease," DLNR Chairman Peter Young said last week.

Biologists reported a conspicuous absence during these surveys of several species, especially the akekee (Kauai akepa) and akikiki (Kauai creeper) from many areas where they had been seen regularly in recent years, he said.

Biologists will survey the 16-square-mile preserve in Kauai's Waimea district. The DLNR will then collaborate with the U.S. Geological Survey to sample birds for disease, monitor them to determine whether they are breeding successfully and examine causes of mortality.
Here's a sobering statistic:
The Alaka‘i Wilderness Preserve is a haven for rare plants and birds, many of which are on the endangered species list. Of the 71 known Hawaiian bird species, an estimated 24 have disappeared and 32 are endangered.

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