WAILUA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keiki from Kauai's Island School released three Newell Shearwaters into the wild at the shore near Lydgate Park Tuesday.
The release is an annual event organized by the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project and the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) project.
"If we don't help the A'o (Hawaiian name for the shearwater) they could become extinct, and we don't want that to happen. They are very important birds and plus they are super cute!" 10-year-old Sonya Ell said.
Part of the release event included classroom outreach to students where they learned fun facts about the birds like how they are expert fishers and skilled climbers.
"This event is a highlight of our year, where school children have the rare opportunity to see these precious seabirds," staff member Derek Harvey said. "As well as seeing the birds up close and personal, each bird, just before release is offered a pule by Kupuna Sabra Kauka – highlighting for the children the importance of this species in Hawaiian culture."
Another release will be held for charter school students in Anahola on Wednesday.
As skilled as shearwaters are in nature, they do face threats.
DLNR officials say the birds are attracted to bright lights and often come crashing down where they end up stranded, unable to regain flight.
Anyone who finds a downed shearwater should carefully take it to SOS aid stations at Kauai county fire stations. The birds are then rehabilitated and reintroduced into the wild.
The SOS hotline is also available to assist by calling 808-635-5117.