As the ʻAlalā return to their native habitat it is critical that land managers, scientists, and community members work together as “ʻAlalā Ambassadors” ensuring that the birds have the space, environment, and support they need to thrive.

Release LocationsP1020502

From 1993-1998 juvenile ʻAlalā were released within the remnant habitat of the last wild ʻAlalā. These efforts were considered unsuccessful due to the habitat lacking complex forest understory.

The release efforts from 2016-2019 occurred in the Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve on Hawaiʻi Island.

Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve has been managed for many years to promote native forests, is fenced and free of ungulates (cows, pigs, sheep, etc.), has a dense understory, and lots of ʻAlalā food plants.

The release efforts from 2016-2019 showed marked improvement from conditions in the 1990s with multiple breeding pairs and nests formed. Increasing mortalities, including depredation by ʻIo, led to the recapture of remaining birds.

At this point, the next release area is still to be determined. To help meet the evolving needs of the project and the birds, the ʻAlalā Project is working on reintroduction plans for releasing ʻAlalā on East Maui and future site on Hawaiʻi Island.

The Kaʻū Forest Reserve is a potential area for future releases. It is hoped that releases could be planned for the Kaʻū Forest Reserve after more management for promoting native forest habitat has occurred.

Project Goals

  • Establish a wild self-sustaining population of ʻAlalā.
  • The wild ʻAlalā will fulfill their ecological roles in the native forest ecosystem.
  • The population will need little help from humans to survive.


A successful reintroduction will require:

Captive released Juvenile Alala in the wild at McCandless Ranch

  • Habitat management to restore and protect native forests
  • Nonn-native predator control
  • Management of captive ʻAlalā
  • Release of birds
  • Post-release monitoring
  • Public support, outreach, and education




No kākou ke kuleana. The responsibility lies with each and every one of us to make sure that the ʻAlalā will be welcomed home to our Hawaiian forests once again. We must build community-wide support from our keiki to kūpuna.


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