Dramatic Drop Reported in Palila Population
Posted in Conservation

Recently, a number of news outlets reported that the population of the palila (Loxioides bailleui), a Hawaiian songbird that the Fish and Wildlife Service listed as endangered in 1967 under the predecessor to the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA), has decline dramatically in recent years according to surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and other entities.  In a five year status review of the species (pdf), the Fish and Wildlife Service previously identified the population decline.

From 2003 to 2007, the estimated number of palila on the southwestern slope of Mauna Kea declined by 58 percent, the first statistically significant population decline for the entire period of annual monitoring that began in 1980.

5-year review at 14 (2009).  Among the reasons for the decline are habitat loss, drought, and predation by feral cats.  The State is in the process of building a fence to protect the species' remaining habitat.  The U.S. Geological Survey has expended significant resources on research and recovery efforts (pdf).  The palila was the subject of extensive litigation under section 9 of the ESA in the 1980s.

  • Paul S. Weiland

    Paul Weiland is Assistant Managing Partner and a member of the Environment & Land Use Group. He has represented clients – including public agencies, publicly regulated utilities, corporations, trade associations and ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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