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Schatz: Hawai‘i To Receive More Than $14 Million To Protect Threatened And Endangered Native Birds From Extinction

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D- Hawai‘i) today announced that Hawai‘i will receive $14,092,200 in funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Geological Survey to protect threatened and endangered local forest birds from extinction. The funding will help recover species including the ʻakikiki and ‘akeke‘e on Kaua‘i and the kiwikiu and ‘ākohekohe on Maui.

“Avian malaria from invasive mosquitoes has devastated our native bird populations and put them at risk for extinction. This new federal funding will help stop the spread of this disease and help us protect and save our native birds,” said Senator Schatz, 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 ʻakikiki, ‘akeke‘e, kiwikiu, and ‘ākohekohe 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 Haleakalā 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.