Puaiohi Recovery Program Moves Forward

Posted at 9:10 am July 2, 2003 by Alan Lieberman

 The puaiohi Myadestes palmeri is an endangered cocoa-brown songster from the dripping forests of the Alaka`i Wilderness Area on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The recovery effort for this bird relies on the cooperation of various organizations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Division, the State of Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the San Diego Zoo. In a meeting held in Honolulu, Hawaii on June 30, 2003, representatives from each of the agencies and organizations presented the results of the past year, reviewed the status of the program, and agreed on common goals to accomplish for the next year.

The role of the Zoo will again be to rear puaiohi in captivity, parent-rearing and hand-rearing as many as 18 (or more!) chicks for release in January 2004. The Zoo will be responsible for transporting the chicks, caring for them in the field, releasing the birds, and using biotelemetry to monitor their health, status, and movements for the first 30 days after their release. The State of Hawaii will be responsible for managing the habitat in the release area (predator control), and the long-term monitoring of the released birds and the total population, which is now estimated to be over 300 birds. We believe the release of 60 puaiohi over the past five years has played a significant part in the increase in the wild population. The USFWS provides funding (crucial!) for both programs.

These types of programs cannot succeed without cooperation, understanding, and sometimes a bit of patience and tolerance. No one person, organization, or agency can achieve recovery by working alone.

Alan Lieberman is the program director for the San Diego Zoo’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

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