Evaluating the long-term management of introduced ungulates to protect the palila, an endangered bird, and its criticial habitat in subalpine forest of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i

Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Under the multiple-use paradigm, conflicts may arise when protection of an endangered species must compete with other management objectives. To resolve such a conflict in the Critical Habitat of the endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper, palila (Loxioides bailleui), federal courts ordered the eradication of introduced ungulates responsible for damaging the māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) forest on which palila depend. During 1980–2011, a total of 18,130 sheep (Ovis aries and O. gmelini musimon) and 310 goats (Capra hircus) were removed from Palila Critical Habitat (PCH) primarily by public hunters (54%) and secondarily by aerial shooting. Nevertheless, our analysis indicates that ungulates have increased over time. Palila numbers have declined sharply since 2003 due to long-term habitat degradation by ungulates and drought. Although culling ungulate populations has allowed some habitat improvement, their complete removal is necessary for palila to recover, especially given the potential for continued drought. Introduced predators are being controlled to reduce palila mortality, māmane and other native trees are being planted to restore some areas, and fencing is being constructed to prevent ungulate immigration. Funds are recently available for more effective eradication efforts, which are urgently needed to eliminate browsing damage in PCH and protect the palila from extinction.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating the long-term management of introduced ungulates to protect the palila, an endangered bird, and its criticial habitat in subalpine forest of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i
Series title Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
DOI 10.1657/1938-4246-46.4.871
Volume 46
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Description 19 p.
First page 871
Last page 889
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Mauna Kea
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N