Ill mosquitoes threaten extinction for Hawaiian birds | Hawaii News


WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) – Federal and state officials in Maui want to use bacteria to get rid of non-native mosquitoes that carry avian malaria to prevent the extinction of native forest birds only found in Hawaii .

The National Park Service and Hawaii’s Department of Lands and Natural Resources are proposing to give mosquitoes bacteria that interfere with their ability to fertilize eggs and reproduce, The Maui News reported on Friday.

The birds – the Hawaiian lianas – have died of disease and need urgent protection, said Natalie Gates, superintendent of Haleakala National Park.

“We don’t have time to wait for this,” Gates said in a virtual public meeting this week.

The ‘mosquito birth control’ method could significantly help the bird population because, although other threats exist, avian malaria is one of the deadliest of the species, said Lainie Berry, coordinator of the species. forest bird recovery at the Hawaii DLNR.

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“Lianas are not found anywhere else in the world,” Berry said. “Unfortunately, due to the increase in human activities, a lot of it has disappeared.”

Of Maui’s six species of Hawaiian lianas, three are listed as endangered.

The southern house mosquito was introduced to Maui in 1826. Avian malaria causes “rapid mortality” in lianas and could lead to the extinction of some species within 10 years, Berry said.

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