Order aerial hunting on Big Island to resume

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal court order is allowing Hawaii officials to resume aerial hunting of feral sheep and goats in an effort to protect a critically endangered bird found only in certain parts of Mauna Kea.

Earthjustice hails the order issued earlier this week as crucial to the palila's survival.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources suspended hunting the non-native animals after a Hawaii County ordinance was passed with strong community support to ban hunting from helicopters or airplanes.

The ordinance conflicts with previous court orders for the state to eradicate the animals that ravage the forest were the native birds live.

The bird is a Hawaiian honeycreeper whose population has declined 66% in the past decade, with fewer than 2,200 left.

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