A native Hawaiian bird that was once one of the most common forest birds in the islands, may soon be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement this week, saying that the iiwi, a bright red bird unique to Hawaii, has suffered drastic population declines recently.
Experts attribute the population drop to a loss of habitat, triggered by the tree disease on the Big Island, rapid ohia death. Another primary factor is avian malaria, which is carried by mosquitoes.
"Mosquitoes are wreaking havoc on the iiwi," said Mary Abrams, field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Service. "We all must be diligent in the search for a solution to the mosquito problem that affects humans and animals alike."
The Service is seeking public comment on the proposal to list the iiwi as a threatened species.