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Conservation groups issue intent to sue state for native birds deaths on Maui, Lanai

The groups said bright lights at airports and harbors on Maui and Lanai disorient the ‘a’o and...
The groups said bright lights at airports and harbors on Maui and Lanai disorient the ‘a’o and ‘ua’u birds.(MAUI NUI SEABIRD RECOVERY PROJECT)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 8:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two conservation groups issued an ultimatum to the state Department of Transportation on Wednesday over native seabirds being killed and injured on Maui and Lanai.

The Conservation Council for Hawaii and the Center for Biological Diversity said bright lights at airports and harbors on Maui and Lanai disorient the ‘a’o and ‘ua’u birds, which are classified as endangered and threatened, respectively.

Environmentalists said the seabirds circle the bright lights at the department’s facilities until they fall to the ground from exhaustion or crash into nearby buildings.

The groups said DOT is in violation of the Endangered Species Act by not taking measures to protect the birds.

They said that they plan to sue the state if the Transportation Department is not compliant in securing an incidental take permit, which requires the state to develop a habitat conservation plan to minimize and mitigate harm to the birds.

Hawaii News Now reached out to the Department of Transportation for comment but have not heard back.

This story will be updated.

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