Hearing begins on planned mosquito release to control avian malaria in effort to save native birds
A hearing got underway Friday on a challenge to the state’s planned use of mosquitoes to control avian malaria that is impacting native bird populations.
Hawaiʻi United and Tina Lia filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order against the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to order the state not to release incompatible male mosquitoes and any lab-reared Wolbachia-bacteria-infected mosquitoes in East Maui.
The state and multi-agency partnership Birds, Not Mosquitoes have proposed using the Incompatible Insect Technique to control mosquito populations that are largely responsible for transmitting avian malaria—which is the primary cause of extinction of three species of native Hawaiian honeycreeper birds.
Dr. Lorrin Pang, an expert on disease vector and Tina Lia have testified on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The State of Hawaiʻi began presenting testimony on Friday afternoon, calling their first witness, Nicole Ferguson of the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.