Hawai’i’s Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project is helping to protect rare coastal ecosystems by translocating and attracting threatened seabirds Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrels in Kaua`i.
The aim of the projectis to create a safe, predator-free nesting habitat for Newell’s Shearwaters (‘A‘o) and Hawaiian Petrels (‘Ua‘u ), Hawai`i’s only two endemic seabirds, and enhancing the existing breeding colonies of Mōlī (Laysan Albatross) and Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose) who already nest in the area.
These species face threats from introduced predators including cats, dogs, feral pigs, rats, and mice, habitat degradation with the introduction of invasive weeds, light attraction and collision with power lines, and threats in the marine environment while they are out at sea.
Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project say: “While suitable mountain habitats exist, none of them are completely free from predators. As a result, there are no predator-free nesting areas for these species. The goal of this project is to provide a safe nesting place for seabirds on Kauai`i.”
The Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project have created a number of solutions to combat the threat to Hawaii’s threatened species including constructing an eight acre predator-free area (Nihoku) at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge; removing invasive plants and planting more than 10,000 native plants representing 30 species; installing 50 artificial burrows to provide nesting habitat for the seabirds; and using translocation methods such as broadcasting their calls from loudspeakers to “call them in” and encourage adult birds to nest.
Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project was founded in 2012 as a collaboration between multiple government and non-profit groups who have come together to help preserve the native species of Hawai’i.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com