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State, landowner meet to safeguard shearwaters

MAKAHU‘ENA POINT — State officials recently met with property owners in Po‘ipu to discuss protection of a wedge-tailed shearwater colony ravaged by feral-cat predation.

The wedge-tailed shearwater, or ‘ua‘u kani ITAL (Puffinus pacificus), is abundant on Kaua‘i, but at least 100 birds have been killed at the site spanning Makahu‘ena Estates and The Point at Po‘ipu resort since 2019.

Following complaints from residents this past summer who say the colony will soon be wiped out, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife announced it would meet with Makahu‘ena Estates officials to address the problem.

“The discussions included predator management, habitat restoration, surveillance monitoring and improvements to the rock wall,” a DLNR spokesperson told The Garden Island, stating the meeting between Kaua‘i DOFAW personnel and Makahu‘ena Estates took place Sept. 29. “DOFAW also discussed partnering with the neighboring property owners to improve communications for seabird conservation.”

Makahu‘ena Estates is required to make certain provisions for the well-being of the shearwater colony, under DLNR-imposed conditions in its Special Management Area permit. These obligations include avoiding disturbance to existing nesting sites, making adjustments to a rock wall to allow for shearwater egress, and partnering with DOFAW to restore native coastal habitat.

The estates’ Project Manager David Weekes also commented on the meeting, adding the estates has entered into a right-of-entry agreement with the state to monitor wildlife on the property.

Weekes has previously discussed Makahu‘ena Estates’ existing predator-management and habitat-restoration efforts, claiming efforts have been hampered by individuals caught on camera releasing captured cats and interfering with traps.

Kaua‘i DOFOW personnel are also in contact with The Point and other nearby property owners not present at the meeting, according to the DLNR.
Source: The Garden Island

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