KILAUEA — In 2014, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge broke ground on a fence system with a goal of preserving and restoring the native environment of Nihoku through integration of science, natural-resource management and environmental education.
The Nihoku Ecosystem Project created a seven-acre area surrounded by a pest-proof fence, and was the first predator-proof fence on a National Wildlife Refuge in the United States, and the first of its kind on Kaua‘i.
In addition to protecting native coastal plants, the fence is to keep introduced predators — cats, dogs, mongooses, rats and mice — out of the area to protect the seabird species of Hawaiian petrel and Newell’s shearwater.
Over the course of several years, approximately 100 shearwaters have been translocated to Nihoku, starting with between 10 or 15 the first year.
This year marks the final rounds of tranlocations to the Nihoku Ecosystem Project.
To mark the final translocations, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge offered webinars during National Wildlife Refuge Week, this week. Due to COVID restrictions the refuge was unable to provide the traditional walks in the three refuges. Instead, they offered webinars each day that explored the different steps of translocations, culminating in the introduction of the new chicks.
At 8 a.m. today, a question-and-answer session regarding the Nihoku Ecosystem Project and final translocations can be found on refuge Facebook page (@KilaueaPointNWR) as well as Pacific Rim Conservation Facebook page (@prconservation).
On Saturday, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a fee-free day with a focus on the keiki. Children ages 5 to 10 will be offered a new, nature-explorer journal to share, a nature-art backdrop for photo sharing, interpretive card walks for engaging the adults, among other things. Visitation will be managed, restricting visitors to less than 25 people an hour. Visitors will get an intimate experience with nature at KPNWR.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday’s fee-free day where we’re focusing on the keiki with new nature-explorer journals and a mural backdrop to take photos with,” event organizer Jennifer Waipa said.
The KPNWR is only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and in compliance with County of Kaua‘i guidelines, is open to 25 people at a time. Reservations for entry can be made on recreation.gov to ensure spots.
The daily webinars held this week are available for viewing on the KPNWR Facebook page.
Source: The Garden Island