|Cleanup around the Punalu'u Black Sand Beach area continued on Saturday, with volunteers from O Kaʻū Kakou and the|
broader community, as well as Black Sand Beach, LLC staff and family members. See more below Photo by Matt Baker
FOUR NATIVE HAWAIIAN BIRDS WILL LIKELY GO EXTINCT IN NEXT TWO TO TEN YEARS, unless more measures are taken to save them. One of the measures could translocate some of the birds to places like Kaʻū where they could be released into a mosquito free area, high in the massive native forest on Mauna Loa. All four of the most endangered Hawaiian birds live on other islands, two on Kaua'i and two on Maui.
A recent study, with results released this week, says that avian malaria, a non-native disease spread by non-native mosquitoes, is the major culprit and that the territory of the mosquitoes carrying malaria is expanding uphill into native forest bird habitat, as temperatures rise with global warming and climate change. "Just one bite from an infected mosquito can result in the death of a bird," said Dr. Robert Reed, Deputy Director of USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center. In announcing the report, Reed noted the the study involved USGS, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations. It was published by University of Hawai'i Hilo's Hawai'i Cooperative Studies Unit.
|The four most endangered native Hawaiian forest birds may be translocated to high elevations|
to places like Kaʻū where mosquitos won't kill them with avian malaria. DLNR photos
|Ridding the islands of mosquitos by using a bacteria that prevents|
them from reproducing would go a long way toward preventing
extinction of native forest birds. Image from DLNR
He said, as many as 11 other Hawaiian forest birds are threatened with extinction in coming decades. If disease continues to spread, conservation strategies enacted now may help these other birds and keep them from the brink of extinction.
David Smith, administrator of the state Division of Forestry & Wildlife, emphasized that mosquitos are expanding their range uphill, making more birds vulnerable to avian malaria. In the past, mosquitos were limited to a range from sea level to up to about 4,000 ft. in elevation, but higher temperatures are allowing mosquitoes to live at higher elevations. Smith said there is a rapid decline in several species of native birds and that all Hawaiian forest birds are in danger.
|Stanton Enomoto said saving native|
Hawaiian birds is akin to 'ohana
supporting an ill family member.
A COMMUNITY CLEANUP ON LANDS AROUND PUNALU'U BLACK SAND BEACH drew some 30 people on Saturday, including volunteers with O Kaʻū Kakou and the Black Sand Beach, LLC staff and family members. They were assisted with some machinery.
The morning work ended as heavy rains began and volunteers picked up free pizza from Eva Liu and Matt Baker. Liu, who owns the property with her Black Sand Beach company, participated in the cleanup. OKK, led by Wayne Kawachi, has volunteered cleaning up the pond at Black Sand Beach for many years but concentrated on the coconut tree grove between the pond and the walkway to new parking for beach goers. Last Wednesday parking was restricted from the Black Sand Beach area, with the exception of vehicles used by lifeguards, lei stand employees and the handicapped.
|A cleanup day on Saturday followed the establishment of no parking along the roadside nearest|
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. Also restricted this week is parking on the black sand. Photo by Matt Baker
Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are the two most active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai‘i, and they have overlapping eruption histories. They are located in close proximity, with their summit craters only about about 34 kilometers (21 miles) apart. In fact, part of Kīlauea is built on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa, which is the older of the two volcanoes.
A geologist examines a two-meter-thick (7 feet) tephra outcrop on the
southeast flank of Mauna Loa. USGS photo by J.M. Chang
|Julie M. Chang|
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on newsstands and in the mail.