- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii wildlife officials say Hawaii Island’s native crow, the alala, could be reintroduced to the wild as early as next year.

The bird hasn’t been seen in the wild for about 13 years, but there are now 114 alala being raised in captivity, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1iPE7l0).

According to a draft of the revised Wildlife Action Plan, 114 birds are enough to risk reintroducing the crows to the Big Island’s forests.

Hawaii Fish and Wildlife Chief Scott Fretz said the department still needs to secure funding for the reintroduction, which would include tracking, veterinary support and predator control.

“We’ve got some funding to do this; we don’t have all the funding we need,” he said. “We’re still looking for a complete funding package to sustain it in the long term.”



He said the plan is to release the birds within the next five years at the Upper Kau Forest Reserve and the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve.

With so many birds in captivity, the Keauhou and Maui bird conservation centers they live in are at capacity. Fretz said if the releases don’t occur soon, the centers, which are operated by the San Diego Zoo, will have to restrict breeding.

An attempt to reintroduce the alala in the 1990s was unsuccessful when the birds became susceptible to disease and predators. Of the 29 alala that were released, 21 died. The remaining six were recaptured.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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