By Nina Wu
It appears as if a predator proof fence installed around Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve is helping the ‘ua‘u kani, or wedge-tailed shearwater seabirds that hatch there, according to a press release issued Nov. 30 by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resorces.
The first albatross of the season arrived at Kaena Point on Thanksgiving weekend.
Since the fence was installed, Lindsay Young, a biologist with Pacific Rim Conservation, said the hatching ‘ua‘u kani population has more than doubled to 3,274 birds this year compared to a previous high of 1,556 birds in 2007.
Populations of the Moli, or Laysan Albatross, which also nests at Kaena Point, have also increased by 15 percent to about 400 birds.
Seabird life were wiped out at Kaena Point by predators and off-road vehicles on the sand dunes where the birds next. In the early 1990s, vehicles were blocked. Since then, seabirds are slowly returning and attempting to nest.
Kaena Point, which was once thriving with seabird life, is one of only a handful of places in the main Hawaiian islands where the albatrosses nest. If you decide to hike at Kaena Point, remember to stay on pathways to help prevent the trampling of seabirds. Also, no dogs are allowed.