Recovery

The release is only one part of the recovery efforts for the ʻAlalā. Captive breeding and restoration of our Hawaiian forests are key factors as well.

 

Captive Breeding

 

Due to a sharp drop in their population, a handful of ‘Alalā were brought into captivity in the 1970s. Today, release efforts are ongoing, but biologists still breed ʻAlalā in captivity.

As of 2016, there were over 125 birds in two breeding facilities managed by the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program (San Deigo Zoo Global).

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Captive bird

 

ʻAlalā are housed at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers. Dedicated staff members care for the birds 365 days a year, preparing diets and feeding the birds, cleaning aviaries, managing breeding activities, providing veterinary care, and much more.

 

Some of the difficulties of breeding ʻAlalā in captivity include: each mating pair needs its own aviary; many potential mates end up being incompatible; infertile eggs are common; males sometimes interfere with egg laying and incubation. Also, it seems that inbreeding is affecting fertility and successful reproduction of some pairs.

Considering all the challenges faced by the captive breeding program, reaching over 125 birds in captivity is a great success.

Captive bird

Forest Restoration

Conservation agencies across Hawaiʻi island have been working tirelessly for many years to protect and restore Hawaiian forests that the ʻAlalā can call home.

To learn more about Hawaiʻi island conservation agencies and their projects, visit their websites by clicking on the links:

Click here to read the ʻAlalā Recovery Plan, prepared by the US Fish and Wildlife Service