Help Save Endangered Hawaiian Birds

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Sponsor: American Bird Conservancy

Ask U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for increased funding to help endangered birds in Hawai'i.


Eight Hawaiian bird species will soon be declared extinct, increasing the urgency to save the 27 surviving Hawaiian bird species that are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Mosquito-borne diseases have decimated populations of forest birds, like the 'Akikiki, 'I'iwi, and Kiwikiu. A warming climate is worsening the situation, enabling mosquito populations to access higher elevations that were once a refuge for these birds.

But there is still hope. A new project, "Birds, Not Mosquitoes," will use a strain of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to stop disease-carrying mosquitoes from successfully breeding, giving Hawaiian forest birds a chance to survive.

This project and other conservation efforts in Hawai'i need increased federal support to succeed. Please ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to boost ESA recovery funding and include mosquito control efforts in the budget.

More on this issue:

  1. American Bird Conservancy (2021), "Mosquito Birth Control And The Fight To Save Hawaiian Honeycreepers."
  2. American Bird Conservancy (2021), "Hawai'i."
  3. Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR (3 October 2021), "Hawaii loses several bird species to extinction."
  4. Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, "Birds."
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The Petition:

Resources are urgently needed to maintain and expand successful recovery efforts for endangered Hawaiian birds, and to meet the growing threat of invasive species on the Hawaiian Islands. Please support the increase of ESA recovery funding for Hawaiian species. We recommend expanding the State of the Birds program to $10 million annually, and in the next USFWS budget, adding $10 million for an urgently needed invasive mosquito control program. 

Hawai'i boasts an incredible diversity of endemic birds and plants, with 90 percent of its native species found nowhere else. But Hawai'i is already known as the "bird extinction capital of the world." Eight additional bird species will soon be declared extinct, and 27 are on the precipice of extinction. Preventing further extinctions will require a dramatic expansion in the network of conservation practitioners working on the ground in Hawai'i.

Invasive mosquitoes that transmit avian malaria are one of the most significant threats to Hawai'i's native forest birds. And this threat is growing as warmer temperatures enable mosquitoes to move up mountain slopes into the state's last forest bird habitats. 

Fortunately, a new approach developed to suppress mosquitoes that transmit human diseases is adaptable for use on the mosquitoes that transmit avian disease in Hawai'i. This non-GMO technology uses naturally occurring bacteria to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The program needs the above-mentioned $10 million to develop capacity and build infrastructure. 

Thank you for considering this request, and for your leadership to protect and restore bird populations on Hawai'i. 

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