Hawai'i State News

Pana‘ewa Zoo unveils newly renovated pueo exhibit; welcomes rescued owl

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The newly renovated pueo exhibit. Photo Courtesy: County of Hawaiʻi

The Department of Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with the dedicated support of Friends of the Panaʻewa Zoo, unveiled the revitalized pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) exhibit on Nov. 12.

Generously funded by the Friends of the Panaʻewa Zoo and thanks to the hard work and dedication of Zoo staff who undertook the construction effort, this project has realized a beautiful transformation of the pueo exhibit. The extensive renovation involved replacing aged wooden components, installing new aviary mesh material, applying new coats of paint, and introducing native plants to enhance the habitat both within and surrounding the enclosure.

“We are committed to improving our zoo because it serves as a special place for our kids and families to explore and learn about wildlife,” said Mayor Mitch Roth.


A new addition to the Zoo will make her debut in the newly renovated habitat. A pueo, named ‘Lilinoe’ by Zoo staff, was recently rescued under unfortunate circumstances. Due to the severity of her condition, she could not be returned to the wild. Fortunately, the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources entrusted the Panaʻewa Zoo with her care.

Mindy Runnells, Zoo Administrator expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “She’s a gorgeous bird, and we are very excited to introduce her into this stunning new habitat! The Zoo staff has done an incredible job with the renovation, and the habitat is simply beautiful.”

The Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens proudly houses nearly 300 individual animals, representing a diverse array of over 80 species. Visitors to the 12-acre park can encounter various wildlife, including birds, small primates, tigers, an alligator, and numerous small reptiles and amphibians. The botanical gardens feature an impressive collection of hundreds of plants and trees, over 1,000 orchids, and more than 100 species of palms.


The renovation of the pueo exhibit marks another significant step in enhancing the visitor experience at the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens while also contributing to the welfare of wildlife in need of care and protection.

For more information, please contact Mindy Runnells at 808-959-7224.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments