12/12/14 – “Birds, Not Rats!” Campaign Seeks Public’s Help To Protect Kaua’i Forest Birds Through Rat Control

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 in Forestry & Wildlife, News Releases

News Release


For Immediate News Release December 12, 2014     



HANAPEPE, KAUA‘I – The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project (KFBRP), a collaborative project of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the University of Hawaii Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, and Garden Island Research and Development, Inc. (GIRCD), has announced the launch of a crowdfunding and outreach campaign to generate support for protecting the native birds of Kaua‘i by controlling rats with humane, self-resetting rat traps. 

The campaign, named “Birds, not Rats!” is hosted on the website, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/protect-hawaii-s-stunning-endangered-forest-birds/. It runs through January 31, 2015, with goals of increasing awareness of the threats that rats pose to birds and native ecosystems, and raising at least $10,000 for rat control through many small, individual donations. 

Hawai‘i is at the epicenter of the current global extinction crisis. Of the original 130+ native Hawaiian bird species, many have been lost forever, and only 11 are not yet endangered. Today, Kaua‘i is home to eight native forest bird species, three of which are federally listed as endangered: the Puaiohi or Small Kaua‘i Thrush, the Akeke‘e or Kaua‘i Akepa, and the Akikiki or Kaua‘i Creeper. Populations of these birds have plummeted as much as 90% in the last five years; the Akikiki and the Puaiohi now number fewer than 500 birds, and the Akeke‘e numbers fewer than 1,000 individuals. The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project’s goal is to reverse these declines. 

DOFAW has identified rats as a major threat to these birds in their native habitats, says Thomas Kaiakapu, DOFAW Kaua‘i wildlife program manager. “We have found rats in the most remote parts of the forest, where they feast on bird eggs and attack nesting female birds.” Rats also destroy the native vegetation by feeding on the bark, fruits, and flowers of native Hawaiian trees and shrubs. Thus, they also compete with native birds for food. 

A simple and very effective way to control the rat population in the forest is to set humane Goodnature® traps. “KFBRP successfully tested these traps at our study site last spring,” said KFBRP Project Coordinator, Dr. Lisa “Cali” Crampton. She continued, “With 37 traps donated by the American Bird Conservancy, we eradicated over 100 rats in three months with minimal human effort, but we need many more to make a real impact on the birds. Unfortunately, given cuts in federal support for endangered species conservation, we are lacking the funds to purchase more traps.”

The goal, through crowdfunding, is to amplify KFBRP’s ability to protect native birds by controlling the rat population in the heart of the Alakaʽi Plateau on Kaua‘i with the purchase and installation of an additional 25 Goodnature® rat traps. “With support from many individual donors, we can realize our objective of protecting our forest birds, and help reverse their declines,” asserts Dr. Crampton. 

KFBRP is a DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife program in collaboration with the Pacific Studies Cooperative Unit of the University of Hawai’i and Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development, Inc (GIRCD)., with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and private and not-for-profit donors.  Donations to this campaign will be managed by GIRCD, which is KFBRP’s 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for fundraising activities. 

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For images go to https://plus.google.com/u/0/101613020396360217549/posts 

About the Division of Forestry and Wildlife 
The mission of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife is to responsibly manage and protect watersheds, native ecosystems, and cultural resources and provide outdoor recreation and sustainable forest products opportunities, while facilitating partnerships, community involvement and education.   

About the Pacific Studies Cooperative Unit (PCSU) 
PCSU is a research unit of the University of Hawaii Manoa, conducting basic and applied research and management of natural and cultural resources in Hawaii on state, federal and private lands. 
About Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development (GIRCD) 
GIRCD’s mission is to carry out a plan for the orderly conservation, development and prudent use of natural and human resources to improve economic, social and environmental opportunities for the people of Kaua‘i County. 

For more information news media may contact: 
Deborah Ward 
DLNR Public Information Specialist 
Phone: (808) 587-0320 

Lisa “Cali” Crampton 
Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project 
Phone:  (808) 355-5078 
WEB SITE:  Kauaiforestbirds.org