Rapid Ohia Death expands to a Big Island wildlife refuge - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Rapid Ohia Death expands to a Big Island wildlife refuge

(Image: Hawaiian Airlines in-flight video) (Image: Hawaiian Airlines in-flight video)
BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Rapid Ohi'a Death, or Ohia Wilt Disease has now been found in a wildlife refuge on the Big Island. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the disease has spread to the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge. 

Surveys show the disease has killed about 50,000 acres of Ohia trees since it was discovered in 2014.

Experts think wind is a factor in the spreading of the fungus.

Cultural practitioners are concerned that the disease will kill off the culturally respected plant.

Hawaiian Airlines is spreading awareness of the plant disease with a new in-flight video educating passengers about the importance of the Ohia plant.

Ohia plants are quarantined from leaving the Big Island to prevent the disease from spreading.

For more information on how to report suspected Rapid Ohia Death, click here.

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