Posted on Apr 15, 2024 in Forestry & Wildlife, Main, News Releases, slider


April 13, 2024

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HONOLULU – Governor Josh Green, M.D., has signed legislation designating an official state kāhuli, or snail, for each of the main Hawaiian islands, as well as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In a ceremony today at Washington Place, Governor Green signed into law House Bill 1899, which recognizes nine native snail species as state snails.

“Land snails are among the most threatened creatures in the world, with more recorded extinctions than birds and mammals combined,” said Governor Green. “Last year, I proclaimed the ‘Year of the Kāhuli’ to help bring attention to the plight of our native snails, which in Hawaiian culture have significant roles in mele, hula, and oli. They are symbols of romance and omens. That we have so many youth who fought hard for this legislation gives me great hope for Hawaiʻi’s future.”

The Bishop Museum organized a statewide snail voting campaign to engage community members and students from across the state to recommend which snail species should be designated official state snails for each island.

Ken Hayes, malacologist at the Bishop Museum said, “The museum and our partners are deeply grateful to see the fruition of years of work that went into making this bill a reality. Hopefully, this and other actions like it will inspire another generation to commit to the aloha ʻāina that is so critical for a sustainable future in Hawaiʻi. Our kāhuli and all species that call Hawai‘i home deserve recognition, respect, and protection. Only together can we save these precious jewels of Hawai‘i for the future and ensure the continued functioning of ecosystems that make this place so special.”

Dr. David Sischo, who leads the Snail Extinction Prevention Program at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) added, “Kāhuli are true jewels of nature and culture. Having these species officially designated as symbols of Hawaiʻi means so much. Knowing that their importance is now enshrined in law brings a new level of focus and pride to the collective work to prevent extinctions of the island’s irreplaceable animals and plants.”

Rather than designating a single species as the Official State Snail, multiple species, that are emblematic of the distinctive flora and fauna of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and each island in Hawai‘i, received the distinction.

  • Hawai‘i Island – Hini hini kua mauna (Succinea konaensis)
  • Maui – Pūpū kua mauna (Lyropupa striatula)
  • Kaho‘olawe – Pūpū kua mauna (Pleuropoma laciniosa kahoolawensis)
  • Lāna‘i – Pūpū kuahiwi (Auriculella lanaiensis)
  • Moloka‘i – Pūpū kuahiwi (Laminella venusta)
  • O‘ahu – Kāhuli (Kaala subrutila)
  • Kaua‘i – Erinna newcombi
  • Ni‘ihau – Kahelelani‘ila‘ula (Collonista verruca)
  • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands – Naka kua mauna (Endodonta christenseni)

Several schools testified on the bill through a civics program led by the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species. Yvonne Chan, a teacher at ʻIolani School said, “Our students learned so much from being a part of the civic process. They loved learning about the cultural and biological importance of Hawaiʻi’s snails. Being able to advocate for what they value and now seeing it pass, was such an amazing experience. It empowers them to raise their voice for what they believe in, join in collective action, and understand our kuleana and responsibility to our natural resources and environment.”

ʻIolani student Logan Lee added, “Through the process for passing the kāhuli bill, I have learned how conservation work can be performed through working with the government and the power of youth voices in government.”

Another student, second grader Jonie Nagle from Le Jardin Academy said, “Being part of our Kāhuli Hui has been a wonderful experience! I’ve learned a lot about our kāhuli and how special they are to our Hawaiian Islands. I hope more friends will join us in our mission to protect these gems of the rainforest. I will keep telling people about them so we can continue the fight to save them from extinction.”

“The students’ advocacy for their snails was remarkable. Witnessing them testify to legislators and engage with the Governor fills me with hope that they will persist in raising their voices and shaping our future,” commented Le Jardin Academy teacher Serena Marsden.

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Additional note: Lisa Secreto’s 5th grade class at Manoa Elementary was not able to attend the bill signing ceremony, but they provided oral testimony at every hearing that this bill received – most of which happened after regular school hours. Thank you for your efforts and a job well done!

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Office of the Governor courtesy photos here.


Images/video below courtesy DLNR, unless otherwise specified:


Video of today’s event at Washington Place: Students, Snails, and Civic Involvement on Vimeo


HD video – Year of the Kāhuli-State snail lab (Feb. 24, 2023):



Photographs – Nine Official State Snails (note individual photo credits):



Media Contact:

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Email: [email protected]


Makana McClellan
Director of Communications

Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Email: [email protected]


Dan Dennison

Communications Director

Department of Land and Natural Resources

Email: [email protected]