Maui News

Councilmember King to host Town Hall on mosquito birth control project on Maui

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PC: Robby Kohley & Jack Jeffrey – event flyer

Councilmember Kelly Takaya King hosts a virtual town hall meeting Thursday to discuss plans to use mosquito birth control to save endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers. Efforts include the protection of Maui’s kiwikiu (also known as the Maui parrotbill), and ‘ākohekohe (also known as the crested honeycreeper).  

Members of the Birds, Not Mosquitoes partnership will give a short presentation which will be followed by a public question and answer session. Interested members of the public may join Thursday, June 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.

To join on Zoom, use passcode 769350 at Us06web.zoom.us/j/82652288236 or Meeting ID 826 5228 8236. The event will also be streamed to Facebook at Facebook.com/CMKellyTKing and Facebook.com/BirdsNotMosquitoes

Hawaiian honeycreepers are highly endangered species, and the kiwikiu and ‘ākohekohe are found only in East Maui and nowhere else in the world. These native forest birds are being driven to extinction by exposure to avian malaria transmitted by non-native mosquitoes, a problem which is worsening as climate change and global warming push mosquito populations into higher elevations.  

One proposed solution to prevent the extinction of these endangered species involves the use of mosquito birth control. Thursday’s town hall will include updates from the BNM panelists working diligently to bring mosquito birth control to the high-elevation forests of East Maui. The event will also provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and communicate with the project team.  

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Panelists at the town hall include: 

  • Jin Prugsawan Harlow, Chief of Interpretation, Education & Volunteers | Public Information Officer, Haleakalā National Park 
  • Dr. Hanna Mounce, Coordinator, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project 
  • Dr. Jonathan Likeke Scheuer, Community Engagement Consultant, Kahālāwai Consulting LLC 
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“Hawai`i is known as the endangered species capital of the world because despite our small land area, the islands are home to 25 percent of the endangered species in the United States, many of which are found only found here,” said Councilmember King. “Unfortunately, the reality is that human activity and the effects of climate change are causing a mass extinction event. Last year, nine Hawaiian species were declared extinct by the US government, including three bird species native to the islands of Maui County.  

“The Maui County Council and its Climate Action, Resilience, and Environment Committee are working hard on efforts to protect these precious animals and preserve their contributions to our local ecosystems and culture. Creative and innovative projects such as this undertaking by Birds, Not Mosquitoes are critically important, and I hope the public will join us to learn more and get involved.” 

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