HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Alala bird is regaining a population in the wild after a special release on Hawaii Island Tuesday.
Six Alala birds raised in captivity were released into the wild. The critically endangered native crows were set free at the Big Island's Pu'u Maka'ala Natural Area Reserve.
Researchers are hoping the two females and four males released will adapt to their new homes.
"We've also been training the birds to make sure they can identify and eat wild foods and their social groups will be a structure that will be most beneficial when they're released," Alison Greggor of San Diego Zoo Global said.
The release marks the second attempt to establish a population since the species disappeared from the wild about 15 years ago.
"This has been an ongoing learning process for everyone, to get it right for the 'Alala to learn the skills they need to survive," DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said.
Alala birds are crucial to native ecosystems the DLNR said because they are key in spreading the seeds of native plants.
This was the culmination of a program under the partnerships of wildlife advocates and native Hawaiian organizations.