|Orange/black Hawaiian damselfly, Megalagrion xanthomelas, is one of ten endangered animals|
listed in a lawsuit, demanding that critical habitats be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Photo from University of Hawai'i
PROTECTING CRITICAL HABITAT FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES, many of them in Ka‘ū, is the aim of a lawsuit filed Thursday by The Center for Biological Diversity. It accuses U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service of failing to designate and protect critical habitat for 49 Hawaiʻi endangered species. Designating critical habitat was required by the Endangered Species Act when the species were listed in 2016. "This unlawful delay puts these endangered plants and animals at greater risk of going extinct," says a statement from Center for Biological Diversity.
The suit names Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, and Martha Williams, Director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife as defendants.
Read the lawsuit at https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/pdfs/49-Hawaiian-Species-Complaint-2022-08-11.pdf.
|The band-rumped storm petrel lives at sea and nests on Mauna|
Loa and Maunakea. Photo from DLNR
Two of the species found in Ka‘ū and on the list are:
‘Akē‘akē: The band-rumped storm petrel, in Hawaiʻi, returns to land from its life at sea to mate and breed. Mauna Loa, along with other high mountains in the islands, "provide the perfect habitat for these small, oceanic birds to make burrows as nest sites for their young. Historically, they were common across all the Hawaiian Islands, but their population has declined significantly because of habitat loss," says the statement from the Center. The ‘Akē‘akē "is a distinct population segment found solely within the Hawaiian Islands. This isolated and
genetically unique population is one of Hawai‘i’s rarest, most elusive seabird species."
Nalo Meli Maoli: The yellow faced bees with seven species on this list. "They represent one of the spectacular examples of rapid speciation that make Hawaiʻi a biodiversity hotspot," according to the statement from the Center.
Maxx Phillips, Hawaiʻi director for Center for Biological Diversity, said, “After six years of dragging its feet, it’s clear the Fish & Wildlife Service had no intention of protecting habitat for these severely endangered species, just like it’s failed to do for so many others. Hawai‘i remains the extinction capital of the world. If the Service doesn’t act, and act quickly, these 49 irreplaceable species could disappear forever.”
"Listing a species as endangered is only the first step in ensuring its survival and recovery. Critical habitat protections would prohibit federal actions that destroy or harm such habitat, and they would help preserve what remains of these species’ limited native range.
"Species with designated critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be in recovery as those without it, making it imperative to protect the places where these rare Hawaiian species live. In 2021 nine other Hawaiian species were declared extinct, highlighting the need for swift action."
Once critical habitat is designated, other federal agencies are required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure actions they fund, authorize or undertake are unlikely to destroy or harm the designated habitat.
The ten animal species named in the suit are: Megalagrion xanthomelas (Orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly), Procaris hawaiana (Anchialine pool shrimp), Oceanodroma castro, (Band-rumped storm-petrel), Hylaeus anthracinus (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus assimulans (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus facilis (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus hilaris (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus kuakea (Yellow-faced bee), Hylaeus longiceps (Yellow-faced bee), and Hylaeus mana (Yellow-faced bee).
The 39 species of plants named in the suit are: Asplenium diellaciniatum, Calamagrostis expansa (Maui reedgrass), Cyanea kauaulaensis, Cyclosorus boydiae (kupukupu makaliʻi), Cyperus neokunthianus,
|An Opae'ula, anchialine pool shrimp, is named in a lawsuit aimed|
at requiring identification and protection of their critical habitat.
Photo from https://twitter.com/opaeula_shrimp
Read more on the work of Center for Biological Diversity at www.biologicaldiversity.org.