Dec 21, 2018- Anyone interested in the plight of the Alala, or Hawaiian Crow, has probably heard that one of the released male birds from last year was just found dead in the wild. The cause of death appears to be predation, followed by scavenging, with no species specific blame. The fact that this was the first death in a year is much more promising than the birds initial release in 2016. Of those five birds released, three fatalities were recorded in the first week. After predator aversion training and foraging skills were introduced, the second release of ten birds proved much more successful. Zero fatalities were recorded until just recently.
This should not be cause for alarm however. With any population, fatalities are inevitable. The Alala Project, a partnership between the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and San Diego Zoo Global are working hard to restore Hawaii’s native crow to the wild, and it’s no easy task. Predators, disease and habitat loss pose constant threats to any native species living in Hawaii. When they’re looking at starting the recovery process with the introduction of captive birds into the wild, things get much more challenging. Each mating pair in captivity needs their own aviary for breeding success, nest failures are common, infertile eggs, incompatible mates, and so many other factors play into the challenges faced by this hardworking group of Alala defenders.
But they continue on. And I cannot thank them or praise them enough.
As a bird lover and conservation biologist I watch this story with great interest and compassion and hope that the success of the Alala population will prevail. We will continue to share any updates to the Alala story here and hope that it will spark interest with you, dear reader. Awareness is always the first step in gaining support for any issue. If you share a love and compassion for all winged creatures, please consider getting involved with the Alala Project. Advocate for native species, teach your friends and neighbors about the importance of protecting these species, and if you can, even in the smallest amount, consider donating to the cause. Whether it’s time or money, any help goes a long way!