Monday, 11 June 2007

Large colony of endangered petrels found in Hawaii

In an announcement made last week, researchers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Hawai'i provided encouraging news for the survival of the `Ua`u (aka Hawaiian Dark-rumped Petrel Pterodroma phaeopygia sandwichensis).

Working with local landowners Castle & Cooke, the survey discovered unexpectedly large numbers of petrels nesting in the cloud forests of Lanaihale on the north side of Lana'i in the Hawaiian archipelago. It turns out that the poorly known Lana'i population may in fact be the largest anywhere, exceeding the estimated 1,200`Ua`u nesting in Haleakala Crater, Maui. Other small colonies nest on Kaua`i, Hawai`i, and possibly Moloka`i. The `Ua`u was listed as an endangered species on 11 March 1967.

This exciting news is tainted by the prospect of a $750 million field of wind generators planned for Lana'i that would ship power to O'ahu via undersea cable. Whether this scheme will be impacted by the new discovery remains to seen.

Source: Angus Wilson and Nate Dias / Seabird News

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