Statewide Story Ideas
Hawaii’s National Wildlife Refuges
As part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS.gov), designated National Wildlife Refuges in Hawaii are set aside primarily to benefit Hawaii’s four species of endangered waterbirds and provide a habitat for Hawaii’s rare and unique forest bird species. One species, the endangered Hawaiian moorhen oralae ula, is known as the most secretive native waterbird. In Hawaiian legend, they were thought to have brought fire from the gods to the Hawaiian people. Consider a visit to the following for a unique experience:
- Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge – Located on the northernmost tip of Kauai, it offers breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The refuge is used by migratory birds and seabirds, as well as Hawaii’s State Bird, the Hawaiian goose (nene). Volunteers provide daily guided tours.
- James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge – Arguably the foremost wetland site in Hawaii, its location in Kahuku (Oahu) provides an area devoted to the recovery of Hawaii’s four endemic waterbirds. Open to the public from October to February, with guided tours on Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge – This refuge near Kihei on Maui is home to the endangered Hawaiian stilt (aeo). Wintering migratory waterfowl also stop here to take advantage of the food resources. Open to the public Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.
- Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge – Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, it was the first National Wildlife Refuge established in the U.S. for forest birds, and is home to some of the rarest plant and animal species on earth. While it’s not open to the public, Hawaii Forest & Trail offers a limited tour for visitors.