Preserving the Alae Ula

Published: May. 20, 2009 at 10:31 PM HST|Updated: May. 21, 2009 at 5:24 PM HST
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Laurant Pool
Laurant Pool
Leigh Marcello
Leigh Marcello

By Sharie Shima - bio | email

WAIMEA VALLEY (KHNL) - Conservationists at Waimea Valley are celebrating the recent birth of three Alae Ula chicks.  There are less than one-thousand left in the Islands.  And you will only find them only on Kauai and Oahu.

Visitors are now able to catch a glimpse of the Alae Ula  family is enjoying a day out on the water.  Mom and Dad daily gather food for their chicks in a tranquil pond.

Laurant Pool, Conservation Specialist at Waimea Valley said the bird numbers are declining and because of the reduction in the amount of wetland that are being used that aren't being used for salt water uses as well.

The Waimea valley staff sees the birth of these Alae Ula chicks as a sign of hope.  As their numbers recover soon they could be removed from the endangered species list.

Pool said you can find them in other places on the island, other wetland areas.  They are pretty resourceful in the types of vegetation that they can use for their nets.

The ebony colored bird gracefully dips into the pond gathering food for her chicks.  The unmistakably red shield on its forehead is a banner of history and Hawaiian Legend.

Conservationist Leigh Marcello said the alae ula is very important to us here in Hawaii because it's very important in the story of Maui they believe Kaalai Nui Hina held the secret of fire from them.

Legend says the Alae Ula held the secret of fire and would not reveal it to the demi god Maui.

The moral of the story is because she held the secret she was punished.

The demi god Maui punished the bird by burning its face leaving a distinctive red shield on its forehead.

Conservationists want people to understand that taking care of our  local environment has a direct impact our native species.