WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D- Hawai‘i) announced that Hawai‘i will receive $14.092 million in funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Servic, and U.S. Geological Survey to protect threatened and endangered local forest birds from extinction.
The funding will help recover species including the ‘akikiki and ‘akeke‘e on Kaua‘i and the kiwikiu and ‘akohekohe on Maui.
“Avian malaria from invasive mosquitoes has devastated our native bird populations and put them at risk for extinction,” Schatz said. “This new federal funding will help stop the spread of this disease and help us protect and save our native birds.”
Schatz is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In recent years, forest birds in Hawai‘i have faced increasing exposure to avian malaria, a deadly disease transmitted by mosquitoes, as warmer temperatures due to climate change have allowed mosquitoes to reach the high-elevation habitats where the birds live. Because they evolved without exposure to avian malaria, native forest birds are especially susceptible to the disease, with the ‘akikiki, ‘akeke‘e, kiwikiu, and ‘akohekohe all facing potential extinction within the next decade if protection measures are not taken.
The federal funding includes $6.5 million for the State of Hawai‘i to implement mosquito control strategies and support captive care capacity for wild birds; $6 million to support mosquito eradication at Haleakala National Park; $1 million to help develop new technology to stop the spread of avian malaria; and $592,000 for mosquito management practices.
The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last November.
Source: The Garden Island