In September, conservation practitioners and environmental educators from across the Philippines, as well as the Pacific island of Pohnpei, gathered to participate in the Island Species-Led Action (ISLA) course run by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which was held in association with Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University, Philippines. The 10-day course was designed to teach participants proven and practical approaches to manage endangered species and habitats on islands, thereby enhancing existing knowledge and expertise and ultimately developing the local skill base and resources for conservation measures and initiatives.
Archive for the 'Hawaii Bird Project' Category
As previously reported, the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program has achieved notable success this year, increasing the `alala flock by 11 juveniles (see post, Record Breeding Season for ‘Alala)! With all these new youngsters cavorting around, and with further growth of the flock anticipated in future years, aviary space has become hot property. Consequently, construction of brand-new `alala aviaries began in late summer at the Maui Bird Conservation Center (MBCC). Each building will have six aviaries, and with a potential of four buildings being completed over this winter, we will increase our holding capacity significantly.
On September 1, 2010, the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center was excited to welcome Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, Hawaii’s two-term representative to Congress. The congresswoman and her staff were on the Big Island to participate in the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service’s Hawaiian Rain Forest stamp series.
Congresswoman Hirono and staff toured our breeding facility, including our aviaries holding the adult `alala, palila, Maui parrotbills, and puaiohi. (more…)
As the end of our program year draws to a close, we are able to reflect back on the breeding season for the birds of the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program. Most notable have been our achievements with the propagation of `alala. During 2010, we hatched 13 `alala chicks and raised 11 healthy youngsters (see `Alala Season: Encouraging Start). Unfortunately, one chick died very shortly after hatch, and another had to be euthanized due to congenital abnormalities. However, these totals represent a record for reproductive success since the inception of the `alala captive breeding program.
Just as exciting, our 11 young recruits bring the current population to a total of 77 known birds. In combination with the 8 youngsters raised in 2009, the `alala population has increased by 30 percent in 2 years. So we are definitely making progress toward species recovery for the `alala, whose entire population dropped to a low-point of approximately 20 birds in 1994.
On September 26, 2010, the Maui Bird Conservation Center (MBCC) hosted an open house to celebrate the 5th annual Nene Awareness Day in recognition of Hawaii’s endangered state bird, the nene or Hawaiian goose Branta sandvicensis. We welcomed over 150 visitors throughout the day who were treated to newly created educational displays, a tour around our recently refurbished nene pens (see post Nene: Movin’ On Up) and a presentation on the history of nene conservation over the last 100 years.
Now this may sound rather anthropomorphic, but in actual fact we soon learn to recognize the different behavioral patterns of individual birds, which helps to define them as individuals and as breeding pairs.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that the current extinction rate for species on our planet is more than 1,000 times the rate it would be naturally, thanks to human factors. Climate change is implicated in reductions to water availability in ecosystems and ice in the Arctic. These days you only have to turn on the television to have a front row seat for the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Everywhere you look, the news about the state of nature seems gloomy. (more…)