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Look, But Don’t Touch

Look, But Don’t Touch
January 15, 2019 Aramis Davis
In Culture, News, Opinion

The Maui Bird Conservation Center works around the clock in ensuring the survival of
Hawaii’s native bird species for a successful reintroduction into the island wildlife. MBCC’s
Research Coordinator, Jennifer Pribble, was kind enough to offer some insight on the mission in
restoring Hawaii’s native bird population. “A lot of the birds we see around the islands, such as
the Common Myna, Dove, or Red Jungle Fowl, which are chickens… They are invasive species
and don’t represent Hawaii. The true native birds to Hawaii are

endangered, and knowing that, is

part of our mission here.” Pribble and her staff’s organized system has led them to recent
successes such as: over 400 bred Nene Geese, plans for the release of more Kiwikiu into the wild
within late 2019, and the preservation of the endangered ‘Alala Crow, or the only endemic crow
species in all of Hawaii as well as one of only two crows alive that can use tools such as sticks to
forage for food.
The MBCC is funded by state grants and works under the San Diego Zoo Institute forConservation Research. However, in respect of the San Diego Zoo protocol, photos inside the
premises cannot be posted on social media due to the bird’s being in cages. The MBCC is
located in Makawao up Olinda Road and past the trees decorated in monkey toys. Their facilities
are not a zoo though, which means the public is only allowed to visit on two days of the year
within the first days of December. The MBCC restricts public visits as a result of how intelligent
these native birds can be. The native birds could imprint if exposed with too much human
interaction, which cause abnormal behavior and a reliance on humans. The diet of these birds are
also kept strict track of and consist of: worms, feed, and the occasional mouse to encourage
foraging behavior.

The MBCC is located very high in elevation due to the mosquito line, in which the lower
areas of the island where the temperatures are warmer is where the mosquitos thrive. Mosquitos
can cause harmful diseases such as avian pox onto the native birds, and due to global warming
this line is bound to raise in the coming years. Those who are eager or willing to help out the
MBCC can volunteer and work at the facilities or even donate to their important cause to save
the native birds of Hawaii.

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