CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2005
CONTACT: BRENT PLATER, 415-572-6989
HAWAI’I’S IMPERILED PICTURE-WINGS TO BE PROTECTED IN 2006
Portland, Oregon- The Center for Biological Diversity has won a court order against the Bush Administration, protecting 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wings under the federal Endangered Species Act, America’s safety net for fish, wildlife, and plants. Under the stipulated order, the administration will finalize rules to protect these species by April 2006, and protect the species’ critical habitats by April 2007.
“Hawaii’s fantastic picture-wings were at the brink of extinction before scientists could even investigate their medicinal values, and it is our shared responsibility to insure that these species survive,” said Brent Plater, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We owe it to future generations to protect these exceptionally important creatures, and the Court’s order recognizes that one of the most effective ways to do that is to protect the places the picture-wings call home.”
Hawaiian picture-wings are perhaps the most extraordinary group of Hawaiian insects known to man, and represent one of the most remarkable cases of specific adaptation to local conditions that has been found in any group of animals on Earth. The study of Hawaiian picture-wings has contributed greatly to mankind’s understanding of biology and evolution, and recently scientists have determined that Hawaiian picture-wings and their associated ecological communities have traits that are enormously important in mankind’s search to cure diseases such as West-Nile virus, AIDS, and even cancer.
Unfortunately, over the past century many Hawaiian picture-wing species have declined, and dozens more are now on the precipice of extinction. In order to protect some of the most imperiled Hawaiian picture-wings into the foreseeable future, the Service published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to protect 12 of these species under the ESA on January 17, 2001.
However, to date the Bush Administration refused to make a final determination on whether to list the Hawaiian picture-wings as endangered, and failed to designate critical habitat for these species, since the proposed rule was published. Today’s order insures that the Hawaiian picture-wings will receive rapid protection within months, and that the special places the picture-wings need to survive—their critical habitats—are protected thereafter.
“By protecting the Hawaiian picture-wings, the Endangered Species Act protects us,” said Plater. “Unfortunately developers and the politicians they give money are trying to repeal the Endangered Species Act. If these attempts are successful, creatures like the Hawaiian picture-wings and the medicinal secrets they have yet to reveal could be lost forever.”