March 4, 2010 – Groups Threaten Luxury Hawaiian Resort with Lawsuit Over Seabird Deaths
SAVING THE NEWELL’S SHEARWATER
The Newell’s shearwater is a threatened seabird that resides in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is known to breed only within the mountainous terrain of the southeastern Hawaiian Islands. Locally known as the ‘a‘o for the moan-like call it emits when in its burrow, the bird is small shearwater, with a glossy black top contrasted by a striking white underside. Although time on shore represents only a small fraction of this bird’s life, the species’ breeding grounds have contributed to its own downfall. Serious population declines are attributed to degraded island habitat, depredation by introduced land predators, light pollution, and collisions with power lines. It is estimated that the Newell’s shearwater’s population has been declining at rates far exceeding 50 percent over the species’ last three generations.