Agency seeks new protections for some of the world’s rarest plants and animals
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Renewed efforts are underway on Hawaii Island to implement protections for more than a dozen of the planet’s rarest plants and animals.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking critical habitat designation for 14 endangered species.
Twelve of them are Native Hawaiian plants only found on parts of the Big Island, including the Kohala mountains, Puna district and slopes of Mauna Loa.
The biggest threats are invasive species choking out their environment, but the designation would increase conservation work.
“Hawaii is the endangered species capital of the world with nearly 600 listed threatened and endangered species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world,” said Fish and Wildlife Service classification program manager Lasha-Lynn Sabosa.
“One of the key things that the Federal Endangered Species Act has recognized is that we cannot conserve or protect our endangered or threatened species without the habitats that they depend on.”
Sabosa adds past critical habitat work has been effective in restoring populations of species compared to areas that don’t have a critical designation.
“Hawaii has a strong conservation network and we’re really grateful for that because without our places and our species that we call Hawaii, that’s one of the most important things,” Sabosa added.
“That’s what makes Hawaii Hawaii is our places and our wildlife.”
A public hearing on the habitat proposal is scheduled for next month and a full list of the species can be found here.
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