The federal government may have removed most species of humpback whales from the Endangered Species List last month, but recently they added nearly 50 Hawaii species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on Sept. 28. Thirty-nine of the species are plants. Of the 10 remaining animal species, seven are bees.
“These species are all affected by habitat loss and invasive species,” said Mary Abrams, the Service’s field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, in the Sept. 28 news release. “Listing these species as endangered will help draw attention to the threats that have brought them so close to extinction, and allow us to begin the process of bringing about recovery.”
According to Fish and Wildlife, 48 of the 49 species are endemic to Hawaii (22 of them are found on Maui). “These 49 species occur in 11 different habitat types, with 48 of them occurring nowhere on Earth except Hawaii,” states the news release. “One bird species being listed–the band-rumped storm-petrel–occurs in Japan, Hawaii, the Galapagos and subtropical areas of the Atlantic.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service added the various species to the Endangered List because they’re all threatened by invasive species, recreational activities that damage natural habitats, dwindling population numbers and erosion, landslides and wildfires. It’s hoped that expanding the Endangered Species List will help the ecology for all of the Hawaiian Islands.
“A number of threats, including non-native species, continue to have a devastating impact on native ecosystems in the Hawaiian Islands” Abrams said in the news release. “We will continue working with local communities, governments, industry, and the people of Hawaii to protect and recover these native species, which are an important part of what makes these islands so special.”
Click here for more information on the species covered by this act. Or click on the link below to see a list of all the species added to the Endangered Species List.
Photo of band-rumped storm-petrel: Andre Raine/USFWS/Flickr