New study bolsters efforts to save endangered Hawaiian duck

New study bolsters efforts to save endangered Hawaiian duck
The birds reside in large populations on Kauai, where researchers found few genetic hybrids. (Source: Christopher Malachowski, Oregon State University)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - New findings suggest conservation efforts aimed at protecting an endangered Hawaiian duck are working.

The koloa is threatened with genetic extinction due to interbreeding with feral mallards over the decades.

Koloa are the only endemic ducks remaining on the main Hawaiian Islands. They are primarily found on Kauai where researchers say there are few hybrid birds there.

But a recent study published in the journal Molecular Ecology found the duck’s genetic diversity is greater than expected.

Scientists say this study is pivotal in the struggle to save the duck from extinction.

“This study lays the foundation for a new chapter in the recovery of the koloa, a new trajectory towards recovery and de-listing as an endangered species,” Andy Engilis, study co-author and curator of the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, said.

Koloa once roamed all the Hawaiian islands until their numbers diminished due to habitat loss, predators and overhunting.

“Its recovery could be viewed as a beacon of hope for the many dozens of critically endangered birds found in the islands,” said Engilis.

To read more of the study, click here.

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