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Autochthonous Hawai'i

'Ākohekohe and 'ōhi'a original

'Ākohekohe and 'ōhi'a original

Regular price $400.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $400.00 USD
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Original 8.3"x11.7" illustration.

‘Ākohekohe (Palmeria dolei), ‘ōhi’a lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), and Iao Valley.

What is an East Maui bird doing in West Maui?! Like many honeycreepers, ‘ākohekohe occupy only a tiny sliver of their historic range. These birds formerly occurred throughout Maui and on Moloka’i! Today, they can only be found on the Northeastern slopes of Haleakalā at elevations over 5,000 feet.

‘Ākohekohe are one of several honeycreepers predicted to go extinct within the next decade. Unlike the kiwikiu—which could go extinct in just a few years’ time—the ‘ākohekohe has a little more life with about ten years until estimated extinction. But is that really any better? According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the estimated wild population as of 2021 was about 1,600 birds, with a total distribution of about 10 square miles. The ‘ākohekohe is considered critically endangered. ‘Ākohekohe have been around for several millions of years, but could have just a few moments (as far as geologic time goes) before they are gone forever.

Mosquitoes are the direst threat to our remaining endemic honeycreepers. Avian malaria, transmitted by the non-native Southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus), is more often than not a death sentence to these unique native forest birds, which evolved in the absence of mosquitoes and their diseases. The threats to these birds are numerous—pigs, rats, habitat loss, cats, climate change, ROD, ignorance—but malaria it seems is the most salient threat at the moment.

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