Group Seeks Funds For Preservation of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

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An ‘akiapola‘au perches in a tree at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge. (Photos courtesy of Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge)

A group dedicated to managing and preserving nearly 33,000 acres of native montane rain forest on the windward slopes of Maunakea, including the endangered birds that live there, is asking the community to assist with its efforts by donating to the cause.

Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge set a goal of $200,000 for its 2022 fall Endowment Campaign.

An ‘i‘iwi is pictured at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.

Hakalau Forest is home to 29 critically endangered species, including seven birds, one insect, one mammal and 20 plants found nowhere else in the world. A robust endowment is essential to ensuring that there are no lapses in funding for needed management activities on the refuge.


Habitat restoration work is expensive and laborious but must be continued until threats to the forest and the species that reside within can be permanently eliminated. The many management needs, often occurring when least expected, have motivated the Friends group to provide a steady stream of funding to be able to be responsive when needed and not have to rely on uncertain federal dollars from year to year.

“We can ensure that our endangered birds have a future if we can build the resources to assist in the critical management that must be done to restore and maintain healthy habitat in the koa-ʻōhiʻa forests of Hakalau,” J.B. Friday, a forester on the faculty of the University of Hawaiʻi and president of Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, said in a press release. “Although our long-term goal for the endowment is $3.5 million, we have raised over $800,000 in the first seven years of the endowment’s existence. This year’s campaign has the potential to bring the endowment to over $1 million. While ambitious, we all believe this is possible with the generous donations of our Friends membership and many other interested parties who see the value in building this fund.”

Recent climate change models predict the refuge’s endangered birds will soon face the same threats of avian disease that have impacted these species at lower elevations. The need for funding has never been more urgent.


The Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge identified four key projects to support once the endowment reaches a capacity to begin releasing funds:

  • Feral pig control to reduce mosquito larval habitats and thereby reducing the threat of avian malarian-bearing mosquitoes.
  • Forest restoration efforts in areas adjacent to and above the refuge to increase areas of high-quality bird habitat at higher, mosquito-free elevations. The Friends will work collaboratively with other organizations such as the Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance for these projects.
  • Removal of all larval mosquito habitat identified by early warning detection systems. Further development of the early warning system for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Control of rats, mongoose and other predators to improve survival and increase reproduction of birds.

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1985 to conserve endangered plants and animals and the native ecosystems of which they are a part. Since its establishment, the refuge has made great strides toward protecting endemic forest birds and other species by fencing large areas and removing feral ungulates, controlling invasive plant species and restoring native koa-ʻōhiʻa forest on former ranch lands.

Thousands of endemic plant species, several of them endangered, were out-planted to the understory and endangered forest birds such as the ‘akiapola‘au, ‘i‘iwi and ʻalawī have moved into these recovering forests.


To donate to the Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge 2022 fall Endowment Campaign, click here. Those who want to send a check should make the check payable to “Hawai‘i Community Foundation: Hakalau Forest Endowment” and mail it to: Hawai‘i Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

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