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With 90 percent of its native species found nowhere else, Hawai’i hosts an incredible diversity of endemic birds and wildlife. But since human arrival in Hawai’i, over 90 of the Island's bird species have become extinct, making it the bird extinction capital of the world.

And many of the species that survive are in serious trouble. In fact, more than one-third of all bird species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act are native to Hawaii—like the Maui Parrotbill (shown). 

To tackle Hawai‘i’s extinction crisis, Congress needs to support Hawai’i-specific conservation efforts, and we’re asking that it create a $20 million fund to do exactly that. These resources are urgently needed to maintain and expand successful recovery efforts for endangered Hawaiian birds—and to meet the growing threat posed by invasive species.

Please ask your elected officials to support Hawaii's endangered birds!

Do you work for a conservation organization? Your organization can also endorse this letter by adding its name in the appropriate field on our petition below. Thank you.


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Message

Support the Hawai'i Bird Conservation Fund

Dear [Administration and Congress],

We ask that Congress please address the bird extinction crisis in Hawai'i by supporting the creation of a bird conservation fund of $20 million over the next four years. These resources are urgently needed to maintain and expand successful recovery efforts for endangered Hawaiian bird species, and to meet the growing threat of invasive species on the Islands.

Hawai'i boasts an incredible diversity of endemic birds and plants, with 90% of its native species being found nowhere else. It has become known as the endangered species capital of the world, as well as the bird extinction capital of the world. Since humans arrived, over 91 Hawaiian bird species have become extinct. More than one-third of all bird species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act are native to Hawai'i. Close to 40% of all listed endangered plant taxa in the United States can be found only in Hawai'i.

Preventing further extinctions of Hawai'i's unique birds and plants can be achieved with perseverance, dedication, and additional resources. It will require coordinated actions among conservationists in the public and private sectors, and at the local, state, and national levels. As a small isolated state,
Hawai'i does not have the resources to safeguard the numerous endangered, endemic species which are invaluable components of national and international biodiversity. It will require a dramatic increase in the funding to support and expand the current network of committed conservation practitioners working on the ground in Hawai'i.

A diverse team of national and state partners is seeking a pledge from the United States government for $20 million over four years to implement a series of high impact projects to make significant strides in stemming the tide of species loss extinction in Hawai'i. Here is a brief list of some of the problem areas and needed conservation activities:

-Take back native forests from non-native ungulates and exotic plants.

-Complete a series of strategic ungulate-proof fences in Kaua'i's rugged Alaka'i Swamp and remove non-native pigs to allow the restoration of damaged forest vegetation and stem the spread of avian malaria.

-Eradicate non-native mouflon and mouflon-sheep hybrids from Palila critical habitat on Mauna Kea. The state has made great progress, but needs support to complete the final push. Removal of these animals is key to restoring the mountain's mane forests for birds and native plants.

-Construct 30 miles of new ungulate fence and remove pigs and other ungulates from 6,000 acres of prime habitat for endangered native birds, plants, and other endemic organisms at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on Hawai'i Island.

-Expand programs to control and eradicate invasive exotic plants such as Australian tree ferns and strawberry guava from native forests on all islands.

-Stop non-native avian diseases.

-Begin implementation of techniques to reduce and eliminate non-native mosquitoes from the Hawaiian Islands to save Hawaiian forest birds from the next wave of extinctions as climate change spreads mosquitoes and with them avian malaria and avian pox virus to higher elevations.

-Stamp out non-native mammalian predators.

-Construct state-of the-art predator proof fences at National Wildlife Refuges on Kaua'i, O'ahu,, and Maui to create breeding habitat free of non-native feral cats, mongooses, and rats for endangered Hawaiian water birds.

-Eradicate non-native feral cats and Polynesian rats from Kaho'olawe (117 sq. km, the largest uninhabited island in the main Hawaiian Islands) to set the stage for a flagship environmental restoration project to benefit native land and sea birds and native plants.

-Stop the flow of invasive non-native species among islands and from other sites to Hawai'i.

-Improve biosecurity measures to protect each of the main Hawaiian Islands from the spread of invasive, exotic species both within the islands and from others sites into the state through creation and expansion of programs to ensure complete cargo and passenger screening (air and sea). Support and fund the recently released Hawai'i Interagency Biosecurity Plan, 2017-2027.

-Establish biosecurity programs to protect the offshore islets of O'ahu, Maui, and Moloka'i from accidental introductions of invasive exotic species (e.g., ants, mice, rats). Conduct targeted eradication programs where needed.

Thank you for considering this request, and for your support for protecting and restoring bird populations on Hawai'i.

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