Archive for August, 2016

IUCN Spotlight: Opening ceremony hula

By
August 31st, 2016



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Kumu Nalani Kanaka‘ole of Halau o Kekuhi, playing the pahu drum, left, and dancers from numerous renowned halau representing Hawaii island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai rehearsing Akahi Ka Mano, a migration chant in preparation for the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony Sept. 1. Courtesy National Host Committee for IUCN WCC Hawaii 2016.

Renowned kumu hula and hula practitioners of the Lalakea Foundation are presenting the opening protocol for the International Union of Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Congress on Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Blaisdell Center in Hawaii.

With Akahi Ka Mano, a migration chant, the mano, or shark, begins the ceremony in a retelling of the ocean migrations of the native people to the Hawaiian islands. The pahu drums, with their reverberating, earth pulsing sounds, accompany the chant to honor the evolution of the landscape.

Then the journey begins, telling the story of how each island emerges, one by one, from the depths of the Pacific Ocean as revealed through Pele, the goddess who resides in the fiery pit of Halema‘uma‘u at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Halau o Kekuhi performing at Hoike, Merrie Monarch Festival 2013, demonstrating their popular, bombastic hula style. Star-Advertiser Photo archives/Dennis Oda.

Halau o Kekuhi performing at Hoike, Merrie Monarch Festival 2013, demonstrating their popular, bombastic hula style. Star-Advertiser Photo archives/Dennis Oda.

The entire performance is in kahiko, or ancient-style hula, with a ceremonial building of a lele on which is placed particular native plants important to hula, according to Lalakea Foundation managing director Noe Noe Wong-Wilson.

"The things we will highlight on each island are sensitive and important issues like the preservation of our mountains, our water ways and access to water," she said. "Each plant represents a strata of the larger kuahu (altar) which is the healthy, native forest. Each plant also represents a characteristic which the dancer strives to achieve. Without the native forest, hula in this form could not exist."

Lava meeting the ocean, Hawaii island. Photo by Kim Wu/Endless Summer Photo Contest. Star-Advertiser archives 2016.

Lava meeting the ocean, Hawaii island. Photo by Kim Wu/Endless Summer Photo Contest. Star-Advertiser archives 2016.

On Hawaii island, world-renowned Halau o Kekuhi under the direction of kumu Nalani Kanaka‘ole, Huihui Kanahele-Mossman and Kaumakaiwa Kealiikanakaoleohaillani perform a series of chants, beginning with Hulihia Ka Mauna, portraying the tumultuous upheaval caused by volcanic activity. Hawaii island's landscape continues to change as the active volcano creates layer up layer of new lava, destroying any living thing in its way.

Kumu Kanaka‘ole composed a new chant, Hulihua Ke Au Nee Ilalo Ia Akua, describing the Hawaii island environment dominated by Pele.

She wrote: "Vulcanism in its wholeness calls for a volatile relationship of extreme factors like fire and ice. Lines from two Awa chants from the mo‘olelo (stories) of Kamiki clearly indicates an understanding of this relationship. As Kanaka (native Hawaiians) we should control the outcome of all sacred places from Mauna Kea to Na Pali."

Kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel at Piiholo near Makawao on Maui where his proposed resource center will be built in January 2016. Photo by George Lee.

Kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel at Piiholo near Makawao on Maui where his proposed resource center will be built in January 2016. Photo by George Lee.

Continue on to Maui, where the mele (songs) will address areas of the isle affected by the restriction of wai, or life giving water to feed the lo‘i, or taro patch and the biosystem of plant sand animals in the streams. Dancers from top-placing Merrie Monarch groups, including Halau Ke‘alaokamaile under the direction of kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel, as well as Halau Pa‘u o Hi‘iaka under the direction of kumu Hokulani Holt Padilla and Halau Hi‘iakanamakalehua under the direction of kumu Lono Padilla and Keano Ka‘upu will perform pieces which celebrate this life-giving water. The phrase "ka wai ola" means "water is life."

Kumu Niuli‘i Heine's halau Na Pualei O Likolehua practice for Merrie Monarch in Kaimuki in February 2016. Star-Advertiser archives/Krystle Marcellus.

Kumu Niuli‘i Heine's halau Na Pualei O Likolehua practice for Merrie Monarch in Kaimuki in February 2016. Star-Advertiser archives/Krystle Marcellus.

Dancers from Oahu will celebrate the verdant Koolau mountain range and the wetlands of He‘eia, Waiahole, Waianae and other storied places. Ka Pa Hula o Ka Lei Lehua under the direction of kumu Snowbird Bento and Halau Na Pualei o Likolehua under the direction of kumu Niuli‘i Heine perform both traditional and contemporary chants highlighting the ongoing struggle on Hawaii's most populated island.

Kauai's Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai under the direction of kumu Kehaulani Kekua perform chants and hula highlighting the beautiful Na Pali Coast, a fragile ecosystem of remote valleys home to unique flora and fauna under threat.

The message is clear. Hawaii is a sensitive ecosystem, each island unique for its own unimaginable beauty of flora and fauna created by millennia of isolation. The hulihia, or tumultuous change in our environment, plants, animals, people and culture that has occurred in just a little over 200 years since recorded Western contact, is irreversible. So where do we go from here?

"We're hoping the message we relate is not only the delicate nature of our own indigenous plants and animal species, but our native Hawaiian people, our culture and our environment," said Wong-Wilson. "Without the native plants, hula doesn't exist...Without the sacred places we as a people would be hard-pressed to maintain our identity, culture and language."

See a gallery of opening ceremony:

The opening ceremonies for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress at the Neil Blaisdell Center. This is Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai from Kauai. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. SEPT. 1, 2016.

The opening ceremonies for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress at the Neil Blaisdell Center. This is Halau Palaihiwa o Kaipuwai from Kauai. Photo by Dennis Oda. Sept. 1, 2016.

Dancers of Halau O Kekuhi take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center arena, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Halau O Kekuhi take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center arena, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Nakinimakalehua Consortium (with Halau Ke'alaokamaile, Pa'u O Hi'iaka, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu and Halau Hi'iakainamakalehua) take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Neal S. Blaisdell Center arena, Thursday, September 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Dancers of Nakinimakalehua Consortium (with Halau Ke'alaokamaile, Pa'u O Hi'iaka, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu and Halau Hi'iakainamakalehua) take the stage during the closing performances in the IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremony, Blaisdell Center, Sept. 1, 2016. Photo by Bruce Asato.

IUCN Spotlight: Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele

By
August 30th, 2016



Dr. Pualani Kanahele, right, and Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, during a panel discussion on Native Intelligence in Modern Times at the East West Center in Manoa. Star-Advertiser 2012 archives. Photo by Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Dr. Pualani Kanahele, right, and Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, during a panel discussion on Native Intelligence in Modern Times at the East West Center in Manoa. Star-Advertiser 2012 archives. Photo by Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, or "Auntie Pua," as some fondly call her, is retired from the University of Hawai‘i and Community College system as well as former president of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation of Hilo, which became one of the newest Hawaii-based members of the IUCN. She is also a retired kumu hula and Hawaiian spiritual leader.

Kanahele, 78, went back to get her PhD from the University of Hawaii at Manoa at the age of 69, and has a lifetime of knowledge of the forests, mountains, volcano and ocean of Hawaii from a native Hawaiian perspective and shares some of her wisdom through poetry. She will be part of a high-level discussion with other world spiritual leaders from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5 entitled "Connections: Spirituality and Conservation."

Along with Kanahele, the discussion will include Rabbi Sergio Bergman, Minister of the Environment, Argentina; His Eminence, Imam Professor Dr. K.H. Muhammad Sirajuddin Syamsuddin, Indonesia; Rev. Peter Harris, Anglican Minister and co-founder of A Rocha; Mrs. Masami Saionji of the World Peace Prayer Society. Moderated by Sally Ranney, president of the American Renewable Energy Institute and co-founder of WECAN.

Kumu Hula, Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele and Nalani Kanaka'ole of Halau o Kekuhi, perform at the Ho'ike held at Kanaka'ole Stadium. Star-Advertiser photo archives. Photo by Ken Sakamoto.

Kumu Hula, Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele and Nalani Kanaka'ole of Halau o Kekuhi, perform at the Ho'ike held at Kanaka'ole Stadium. Star-Advertiser photo archives. Photo by Ken Sakamoto.

The Green Leaf sat down for a Q&A with Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele about the upcoming IUCN World Conservation Congress.

GL: Why is the IUCN World Conservation Congress important to you?

PK: I'm very conscious of the fact that we live on an island, and the island has a limited amount of land space and I think that those of us that live on these islands need to be conscious of that because if we run out of land space, we have no place to live. I would like us to be conscious of the land, the environment and what the land has given to us...There has to be some kind of reciprocation between ourselves and the land...

People have to be able to be conscious of that and learn that, and in some way, give back...then in their consciousness will always be the fact that the land is like a kin, and you never do anything that erodes that kinship...Hopefully the conference will serve as a spiritual enlightenment...

GL: Is there a spiritual side to conservation? Has there always been a spiritual side, for you?

PK:Very much so...It's the way we believe, yes, but it's not just the fact that we believe it. It's the fact that a lot around us provides life – water provides life, the ocean provides life, the sun provides life...This is a consciousness that people should have, not only because it's part of Hawaiian culture, but because we live on an island. We have to be conscious of where our water comes from, the cycle of water, the importance of the sun, the mountain and the trees in the forest. All of this is part of our life cycle...

GL: What is a Hawaiian spiritual leader and what is your role in conservation in Hawaii, and in the world?

PK: My family and I teach Hawaiian ceremony. We taught it to a lot of people within the last 40 to 50 years...and we've taught people how to chant. Chanting has to do with the way you address the elements (of nature) and reciprocation of the elements to you. In that way, it's kind of a spiritual movement...

GL: Are you still very much involved with the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation, which just became a member of IUCN, even though you retired as president?

PK: I'm still very involved in the foundation because it's a family foundation, so we're all involved in it...(Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation was founded in 2000) It's what gives us strength to do what we do, so we shore up each other but we also allow it to move outside of our family circle...Conservation of Hawaii is important to us as Hawaiian practitioners. If you're dancing hula, the forest is an important entity. That's where you get all your lei. Anything in hula is about Laka and you should know something about the forest. We're taking from the forest so we have to be able to give back, so there's always a reciprocation...The whole idea of conservation comes out of that upbringing....

There's always a reciprocation...you can't just take and take, you have to feed it back...It's the whole idea of aloha. You know, aloha for some people, it means to always give, but aloha also means for them to give back...Aloha means I'm giving you my breath; Eventually, you have to give back, otherwise I'm going to run out of breath...

GL: You're on a panel with an interesting group of other spiritual leaders. What do you hope to share with other religious world leaders at the congress?

PK: Each (of us) will have our own ideology of where we come from. I think each of us has something to add to the idea of conservation, so we should take as much as we can from any practice or belief...It's interesting being on a panel like this. It's a first.

I think we need to teach each and every one that lives on this Earth something about this Earth so they can develop a kinship to that and become conscious of it...We need to actively develop that, whether in our education system or our government.

Related video from TEDx Maui 2012:

IUCN Spotlight: Remains of a Rainbow exhibit

By
August 28th, 2016



Orange Koki'o, or hibiscus. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton with Environmental Defense.

Orange koki'o, or hibiscus. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

The colors of the plants burst out from a black background — a glorious, orange kokio, the silverish blades of a Ka‘u silversword and delicate, white petals of a na‘u, or gardenia brighamii.

Then there are the varied, shiny stripes on kahuli tree snails, their shells resembling jewels; the comical face of an ‘o‘opu fish, mouth agape, swimming to you; and the regal eye of an alae ula looking at you, its colorful red and yellow beak cocked aside.

The one-of-a-kind fine arts exhibit, "Remains of a Rainbow: the Hawaiian Archipelago — Photographs by Susan Middleton and David Liittschwager" will be on display on the ground floor atrium of the Hawai‘i Convention Center for the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The exhibit is on display at the congress in partnership with the National Tropical Botanical Garden of Kauai and National Geographic Society.

It is available for public viewing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 2 to 7 and Sept. 9.

Hawaiian Tree Snails. (Clockwise from top left): Achatinella livida; Achatinella lila; Partulina proxima; Achatinella mustelina; Partulina redfieldi. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

Hawaiian Tree Snails. (Clockwise from top left): Achatinella livida; Achatinella lila; Partulina proxima; Achatinella mustelina; Partulina redfieldi. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

Middleton is a San Francisco-based artist and photographer specializing in the portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites and cultures. Liitschwager, a contributing photographer to National Geographic and other magazines, is also based in San Francisco. The exhibit combines images from both "Archipelago, (National Geographic 2005)" featuring the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and "Remains of a Rainbow, (National Geographic 2001)" featuring the Main Hawaiian Islands, for display together for the first time.

The Green Leaf caught up with fine arts photographer Susan Middleton for a Q&A.

GL: What inspired you to photograph endangered native Hawaiian flora and fauna for "Remains of a Rainbow"?

SM: I collaborated with David Liitschwager on four books and companion exhibitions from 1990 to 2005, focusing on rare and endangered flora and fauna...While working on "Witness" we visited Hawaii to complete fieldwork for the project. Known as the endangered species capital of the world, Hawaii was home to more than 25 percent of species on the Federal Endangered Species list, yet it comprised only one-tenth of one percent of the land area of the United States.

Two weeks of fieldwork stretched into five weeks while I witnessed the splendor of the native Hawaiian flora and fauna simultaneous with its tragic decline...This experience galvanized me into devoting the next 10 years to the Hawaiian archipelago, first in the main Hawaiian islands and then the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands...

Hawaiian 'Alae 'Ula. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

Hawaiian 'alae 'ula. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

GL: As you were photographing individual flora and fauna from Hawaii, did anything strike you in particular about Hawaii itself? Were the flora and fauna from the main Hawaiian islands as fascinating as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands?

SM: What I noticed, for the first time in my life, was how evolution actually works. On islands, particularly ones as isolated as the Hawaiian archipelago, it's easier for biologists to witness and understand evolutionary relationships — how some of the early plants and animals arriving on the islands were able to take hold and colonize, and then adapt to their new surroundings, changing and diversifying gradually over time into the wondrous array of flora and fauna that exists nowhere else on Earth.

I do think the flora and fauna of the main Hawaiian islands are as fascinating as the Northwestern Hawaiian islands, for sure! Of course the Northwestern Hawaiian islands are less impacted by human presence, and when there, I felt as if I was visiting someone else's home; wildlife reigns in the NWHI. But there is far more native plant diversity on the main Hawaiian islands. Much of it has been lost, but much still remains. Hence, the title of the exhibition at IUCN — "Remains of a Rainbow: the Hawaiian Archipelago."

GL: Do you have a favorite individual image (I know it's hard to choose). If you could only choose one image for this exhibit, which one would it be?

SM: My favorite individual image in the exhibit (right now, it changes) is the ‘o‘opu alamo‘o (Lentipes concolor), the Hawaiian native stream fish photographed at the NTBG Limahuli Stream on Kauai. This beautiful, little fish can scale 1,000-foot waterfalls, from the sea to high in the mountains. Its habits are perfectly adapted to its habitat, yet it is defenseless against agricultural runoff and non-native species introduced into its native streams. The picture shows two fish — one swimming upward with its partially gold color on full display; the other is hunkered down looking straight at the camera with a striking face. Voluptuous lips with tiny teeth!

'O'opu 'Alamo'o, Lintipes concolor. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

'O'opu 'alamo'o, Lentipes concolor. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

GL:What message do you hope to get across with these images at the IUCN World Conservation Congress?

SM: The images in this exhibition have been specially selected to illustrate the spectacular profusion of life native to the Hawaiian archipelago on the occasion of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress...Most IUCN participants won't have a chance to witness Hawaii's native flora and fauna firsthand, so my hope is that the exhibit will give a vivid impression of Hawaii's national treasures.

GL: Why is conservation important to you as a fine art photographer?

SM: I am a photographer and artist first, but early on I fell in love with what I was photographing, which were endangered species of California. And once you fall in love, you care about your loved ones. I attached myself to scientific experts to guide my fieldwork and learn about what I was photographing. And once I understood how imperiled and rare so many species are, and how human impact affects their survival, I became a full-on conservationist. And then I witnessed how the images can raise awareness toward conservation.

The endangered Na'u, or Gardenia brighamii to be on exhibit at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

Photo of the endangered na'u, or Gardenia brighamii, to be on exhibit at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. Courtesy David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IUCN Spotlight: Hawaiian monk seals

By
August 25th, 2016



Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole resting on the beach at Papahanaumokuakea. Photo courtesy NOAA. Permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

The NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program recently transported four malnourished Hawaiian monk seals, classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to a monk seal rehabilitation center in Kona, Hawaii.

Among them are prematurely weaned pups, including Niho‘ole, pictured above, as well as YK56, an extremely underweight five-year-old.

"Even though the five-year-old Hawaiian monk seal is older than our typical patients from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, she is much smaller and thinner than the others in her cohort," said Michelle Barbieri, wildlife veterinary medical officer. "She has generally declined in condition over the past two seasons, and appeared to decline even more dramatically this season."

The monk seals underwent physical exams and blood work aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Oscar Elton Sette, and have begun a treatment regime, including oral electrolytes, fish-mash tube feedings and antibiotics. They were shuttled by small boat to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center's monk seal hospital in Kona as part of the final mission of a 24-day research cruise.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Teams of researchers, who studied seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which President Barack Obama recently quadrupled in size to nearly 583,000 square miles, were also picked up as part of the program's long-running Assessment and Recovery Camps. As remote as the atolls may be, their shores are full of marine debris, including broken-down pieces of plastic, fishing nets and ropes that the seals often get entangled in.

Since Ke Kai Ola opened two years ago, the hospital has provided another option in the islands for malnourished monk seals that would otherwise perish at Papahanaumokuakea. So far, the hospital has rehabilitated and returned 15 Hawaiian monk seals to the wild, including seven last year.

The Hawaiian monk seal, or neomonachus schauinslandi, is endemic to the Hawaiian islands, meaning found nowhere else, and typically hauls out on beaches to rest during the day. While most live in Papahanaumokuakea, a growing number of pups are being born in the main Hawaiian islands. Their population has been in decline for decades, with only an estimated 1,300 left in the wild.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho‘ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Interested in learning more about Hawaii's wildlife? The IUCN Forum presents a Knowledge Cafe, entitled "Wet and Wild: Promoting Sustainable and Responsible Ecotourism Experiences with Marine Wildlife" from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Room 311-4 at Hawai‘i Convention Center. Meet with representatives from NOAA Fisheries for a discussion on how to balance sustainability with tourism when it comes to whales, dolphins, manta rays and Hawaiian monk seals. Wildlife managers, marine ecotourism operators, cultural practitioners, travel industry representatives, scientists and others welcome. A followup discussion will be held off site from 1 to 5 p.m. at the OHANA Waikiki East Hotel, lobby conference room, 150 Kaiulani Ave. RSVP to Adam Kurtz, adam.kurtz@noaa.gov by Sept. 6.

Related videos:

Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole playing with plastic debris at Laysan.

 

This public service announcement plays on Hawaiian Airlines' in-flight video:

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, Hawaiian monk seals, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress, Papahanaumokuakea | Comments Off on IUCN Spotlight: Hawaiian monk seals

IUCN Spotlight: Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III

By
August 22nd, 2016



Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

A Hawaiian chanter, senior scientist and cultural advisor for The Nature Conservancy, Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ohi‘a Gon III bridges the western and native Hawaiian worlds.

Gon, who has more than 40 years of experience in Hawaiian ecology, is hosting a workshop at the IUCN World Conservation Congress Forum on integrating indigenous cultural values and perspectives into conservation on Sept. 3. He will be at the opening of the #NatureForAll pavilion and moderate a presentation on bright spots in conservation across the isles.

Gon helped craft motion 83, with students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Environmental Law Program, which affirms the role of indigenous cultures in global conservation efforts.

"If you were going to think about any place where conservation issues are a high priority, and conservation challenges felt very strongly, it would be Hawaii," said Gon. "We have more endangered species than any other state in the U.S. We've got finite island ecosystems."

"The lessons of these islands to earth is the same as a canoe to an island. When you're on a voyaging canoe thousands of miles to an island, your entire world is on the canoe. You need to rely on the people in that canoe and the resources you have to survive. Decisions are never made lightly. You're always thinking about supplies, the direction  and your goals."

"We know we have limited land area, so you can't behave as if you have an infinite supply of resources...so that same lesson applies to larger islands such as continents, and of course, to the largest island we have, which is the planet."

The practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol graduated from revered kumu John Keolamaka‘ainana Lake as well as with a PhD in animal behavior from the University of California at Davis, and is as comfortable talking natural science as he is Hawaiian. He lectures about the Natural History of Hawaiian Islands at the University of Hawaii at Manoa In addition, he knows Hawaii's mountains and forests intimately.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Whether in the Pacific islands or forests of the Amazon, indigenous peoples who have a relationship with the places where they live offer valuable insights into the management of natural resources.

"The time is emerging when all people need to start looking at their places, lands and water, and sustain them with a bit more respect," said Gon. "It becomes clearer to us that human impacts are being seen from pole to pole and there's no place on Earth that hasn't seen the impact of humanity...It's no longer, let nature take its course because we have modified the course nature has run."

Still, people need to be part of the solution because people are part of the natural system.

"The great revelations of this century are going to be the awareness of the global implications of our actions. We need to take action as individual countries and as a global country to minimize those things we understand are not in the best interest of the world's ecosystems or ourselves."

In addition to serving on the IUCN's commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, Gon also was a member of the Hawaii Rare Plant Specialist Group that worked to add more than 700 more native species to the IUCN Red List. There are so many Hawaiian plants and animals that are in need of attention, but one that Gon would love to see added to the red list is the Hawaiian Happy Face Spider.

In mid-August, Gon joined the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Snail Extinction Prevention Program in reintroducing captive-reared, nearly extinct Hawaiian tree snails (Achatinella Lila, or pūpū kuahiwi) back to the summit of the Ko‘olau mountains on Oahu. In 1997, the last six individuals for the snail population were brought to a lab for captive rearing.

Related video (TEDx Maui Talk: Lessons from a Thousand Years):

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on IUCN Spotlight: Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III

IUCN Spotlight: Chris Farmer

By
August 15th, 2016



Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Gone is the Kauai O‘o bird, which was endemic to the island of Kauai. Its songs can no longer be heard in tree branches, with all that remains being a recording at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its last song was heard in 1985.

Before that, we lost the Oahu ‘akepa (1893), the Laysan honeycreeper (1923) and Lanai creeper (1937). Today, many native Hawaiian birds continue to live on the brink of becoming extinct due to invasive species, loss of habitat and mosquito-borne diseases.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director of the American Bird Conservancy, said roughly a third of all endangered birds in the world are native Hawaiian. Being on isolated islands, conservation work here is more challenging due to the small, geographic location and lack of funding.

"Hawaii's native birds are one of the biggest conservation needs in the world," said Farmer. "I do feel we're at a crossroads. A lot of these birds are in serious shape. We know it needs to get done. If we take action now, we can save these precious and endangered species found nowhere else in the world."

Hawaii is the bird extinction capital of the world, according to the conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by Robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

Native birds such as the ‘akikiki, ‘i‘iwi and Maui parrotbill are at risk of declining quickly. The ‘i‘iwi, or Hawaiian honeycreeper, was once one of the most common native forest birds in the Hawaiian archipelago but is in decline due to avian malaria. Climate change is another threat.

Yet Farmer, who has been dedicated to saving Hawaiian birds since 2004, remains optimistic.

The translocation of endangered millerbirds to Hawaii's Laysan island is a success story. In 2013, the population of the millerbirds there had doubled to more than 100 after 50 were translocated from Nihoa in previous years. Last year, 10 endangered Hawaiian petrel chicks were flown by helicopter to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where they are protected by a predator-proof fence, on Kauai.

In April, biologists released more than a dozen puaiohi (small Kauai thrush) from captive breeding programs at a wilderness preserve on the Garden Isle. Hawaiian crows, or alala, are also being bred in captivity and doing well, with a dozen to be released in September.

"The problems are serious, but the hope is there," he said. "If we act now we can save these species."

Farmer and George Wallace (vice president of oceans and islands) from the American Bird Conservancy will be at the following World Conservation Congress events:

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Saving Hawaiian Birds. Concrete Actions to Prevent Further Extinctions.

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Overcoming Conflicts to Save Hawaii's Native Birds

> Revive & Restore Workshop, Genetic Rescue: Can new genomic tools solve conservation problems such as exotic wildlife diseases and destructive invasive species?

> Revive & Restore Pavilion, Stamping Out Alien Mosquitoes in Hawaii: Can new technology stop avian malaria from driving Hawaii's native birds to extinction?

> ABC Poster: Hawaii's Native Birds at the Crossroads

> ABC Poster: Palila: Conservation of an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper - past, present and future challenges

The Palila, a critically endangered native Hawaiian bird on the IUCN Red List. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

The Palila, an endangered native Hawaiian bird. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

A Green Congress

By
August 11th, 2016



The IUCN World Conservation Congress is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 leaders from around the globe to the Hawai‘i Convention Center in September. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 leaders from around the globe to the Hawai‘i Convention Center in September. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

Let's face it – traveling itself, via jet planes, staying at hotel accommodations and consuming food and drink on the go are not exactly the best way to reduce carbon emissions in the world. After all, travelers leave a carbon footprint just by jetting to Honolulu from the other side of the world.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, nevertheless, is making every effort it can to green its upcoming World Conservation Congress in Waikiki Sept. 1 to 10. The IUCN and Hawaii Host Committee are attempting to host a zero-waste event for the largest gathering of conservationists from around the world.

Here are some of the guidelines issued in the "My Green IUCN Congress Guidebook":

> Offset carbon emissions. First of all, participants can offset their carbon emissions from air travel by contributing to the IUCN Congress Carbon Mitigation Fund when registering for the Congress. Proceeds will be go to the Cordillera Azul National Park Project in Peru.

> Use alternative transportation. Upon landing, participants are encouraged to stay at hotels adopting green business practices nearby and to take TheBus, walk, bike, carpool or request a hybrid or electric car from rental agencies.

> Go plastic-free. No plastic water bottles or plastic bags, cups, straws or packaging are to be distributed or sold at the center. Water stations will be available around the convention center for free refills. Only drinks in aluminum cans and glass bottles will be available for purchase.

> Go digital. There will be no printed program. Instead, the Congress encourages registered participants to use the official IUCN Congress mobile app (free) to reduce paper waste. Participants are encouraged to go digital, as well, for documents.

> Eat local and compostable. As much locally sourced food as possible will be sourced for the menu, which of course, can not feature any threatened species. All kitchen scraps and food waste will be collected, along with the compostable plastic tableware, to be converted into compost at local farms.

On a side note, the guidelines also request that only endemic, non-endangered, potted plants be used for decoration and only environmentally-friendly cleaning products be used on the facility.

It seems as if the Hawai‘i Convention Center, placed up on a world conservation stage, is taking pioneering, large-scale measures to make this congress as sustainable as possible. Perhaps these are measures that will set the standard for future events going forward.

Front view, Hawai‘i Convention Center in Waikiki. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA This is the Hawaii Convention Center located at the corner of Kapiolani and Atkinson Drive. It’s having its best year yet, but is still losing money. This is the Gift of Water Statue in front that faces Atkinson Dr. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

The Hawai‘i Convention Center in Waikiki will adopt sustainable practices when it hosts the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA

Posted in Green health, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on A Green Congress

The IUCN Red List

By
August 9th, 2016



The Oahu Elepaio is on the list (status: endangered), as is the Hawaiian monk seal (status: endangered), the Kauai bog damselfly (status: near threatened), silversword (status: vulnerable) and Cyanea kuhihewa (status: critically endangered).

The IUCN Red List, sometimes referred to as a barometer of life, has since 1964 been cataloging the conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species around the globe with details such as current status, distribution, threats and habitats essential for survival. Considered a critical indicator of the health of the world's biodiversity, it's used by government agencies, wildlife departments and organizations worldwide to set conservation and funding priorities.

Hawaii, the "extinction capital of the world," has a significant number of flora and fauna on the list and is poised to have more.

In an unprecedented collaboration, botanists in Hawaii are targeting over half of Hawaii's native plants — 780 of 1,375 natives species — for the IUCN Red List.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden spearheaded these efforts last August, when it hosted a workshop for the Hawaiian Plant Specialists Group, which is part of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The group assessed the plant species by island, focusing first on 'single island endemics,' or species that occur on just one island.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo courtesy NTBG.

Approximately 90 percent of native flowering plant species are endemic to the islands, meaning found nowhere else, naturally. Kauai has the highest number of endemic species due its geologic age, its many steep, isolated valleys and greater distance from other islands. Before the workshop, 91 Kauai species were listed. An additional 47 have been listed, with more pending.

By the time the congress takes place in September, Oahu is expected to increase its number of red-listed plant species to 147; Maui 117; Lanai 50, Molokai 66 and Hawaii island 79.

Currently, there are more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. The IUCN's goal is to assess at least 160,000 species by 2020.

A quick look at the IUCN Red List:

> There are currently more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. More than 23,000 are threatened with extinction, including 41 percent of amphibians, 34 percent of conifers, 33 percent of reef building corals, 25 percent of mammals and 13 percent of birds.

> Both threatened and non-threatened species are included on the list. However, a species that is not listed may still be threatened.

> Categories range from least concern to vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct.

The  World Conservation Congress, held only once every four years, is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 world leaders from over 170 countries to the Hawai‘i Convention Center from Sept. 1 to 10. It is being held for the first time in the U.S.

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Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, Green events, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on The IUCN Red List

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