May 19, 2019
Birds are building nests everywhere this spring, but for a pair of critically endangered crows in Hawaii it’s an especially big deal – it’s the first time they’ve made one in the wild in 20 years.
The ‘Alalā was once widespread throughout Hawaii, but a combination of threats ranging from habitat loss, disease and non-native predators to conflict with farmers drove their population down at an alarming rate. By the late 1970s, there were only estimated to be 50 to 150 left. The last two known individuals vanished from the wild in 2002.
Although they were declared extinct in the wild, a captive breeding program had begun years earlier and many have been hatched and raised at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers as part of a partnership between the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, San Diego Zoo Global, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.