Hawaii endangered bird program halted after 9 die of illness

Hawaii endangered bird program halted after 9 die of illness
The Kiwikiu is extremely rare and is only found on Maui. (Source: DLNR)

HONOLULU (AP) - Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project officials have announced the program will be halted after the deaths of nine endangered birds.

Scientists say the decision to suspend the project at Haleakala National Park on Maui came after at least nine of 13 kiwikiu apparently succumbed to avian malaria.

The birds also known as the Maui parrotbill were transported to the Nakula Natural Area Reserve in Haleakala in hopes they would breed.

Officials say five captive and four wild birds died within a few weeks of their transfer to Nakula, some before they were released. Another bird was missing.

The kiwikiu is a yellow and olive-green Hawaiian honeycreeper with an estimated remaining population of up to about 300 birds.

Officials say they are hopeful for the survival of the program’s remaining birds.

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