Among the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the last refuge for many of the state’s endangered native flora and fauna. They face threats from invasive species, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. With human help, however, some are recovering and rebounding. During our recent visit, it was a joy to see that many people on the island were working to protect and preserve these rare species. For example, the Hawaiian Monk Seal, dozing in the third photo below, was accompanied by nearby beach volunteers to prevent anyone from disturbing it.
For eons, Hawaiian animals and plants were isolated on the world’s most remote island chain. As the rest of the world has arrived over the past few centuries, native species have faced threats which they had never known. Since many are endemic (found only here,) if they disappear from Hawaii, they’re extinct forever. Sadly, some are already gone. Fortunately, lots of groups like National Tropical Botanical Garden are working to protect Hawaii’s remaining natural heritage.
These photos were taken at McBryde Garden and Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai, except for the Hawaiian Monk Seal photo, which was taken at Lawai Beach on the island’s south shore. All of the animals and most of the plants in these photos are threatened with extinction. We’ve never seen any of Hawaii’s three native orchid species, but we’ll keep trying. They’re all very rare and endangered, and conservation efforts for them are continuing. To learn more about Hawaii’s threatened species, explore facts sheets from the state’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
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