), an Endangered forest bird endemic to the “big island” of Hawaii
, has declined 75 percent since 2003, to a population of 1,200 birds in 2010.
Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey.According to government officials
, the Palila’s fate is due to a combination of factors:
impacts of feral goats and sheep (ungulates) on the mamane trees that the birds depend on for much of their diet,
effects of severe drought on the bird’s food supply, and
predation by nonnative feral cats.
In response to the crisis, conservation agencies have proposed a monumental project to erect a fence
encircling the entirety of the designated Critical Habitat for Palila on Mauna Kea
, with the goal of excluding exotic ungulates from the area.
Labels: drought, Palila