The lost species include eight birds and a mint family plant found only in Hawaii.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared nearly two dozen species extinct, including nine Species from Hawaii.
The federal agency on Wednesday proposed removing the lost species from the Endangered Species Act. Removing species from the list would cause the agency and its partners to stop searching for them.
Eight of the nine species considered extinct are Hawaiian forest birds. The other is a species of mint family plant that was previously only found in Hawaii.
Hawaii is known as the capital of the world’s endangered species and is home to hundreds of species of endangered plants and animals.
According to the Audubon Society, there are only 17 native forest bird species left on the islands, compared to more than 50 that have evolved here over thousands of years. And almost all that survive appear to be critically endangered this century as the threats to their survival increase with the onset of climate change.
As climate change drives temperatures up in the Hawaiian mountain forests, move deadly mosquitoes are approaching the summit, threatening to eliminate the birds’ only disease-free border.
Many native plants are also in danger. A total of 130 of the state’s 1,360 native plant species are now extinct.
The nonprofit Center for Biodiversity said in a press release that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been slow in protecting endangered species, citing a 2016 study that found that species waited an average of 12 years to receive conservation measures. At least 47 species have become extinct while waiting for protection, says the non-profit organization.
Once a species is declared endangered, it receives protection money – but often the funds are not enough, said the Center for Biodiversity.
According to the nonprofit, about one in four species receives less than $ 10,000 a year for recovery.
Mosquito-borne disease and habitat loss led to the extinction of Kauai akialoa, a Hawaiian honey tree that only lived on the island of Kauai, Kauai nukupuu, another honey tree, and Kauai oo, a songbird with a bell-like call.
The kamao, a large thrush, was once the most common bird on Kauai and was last seen in 1987.
The Maui Akepa, which was last seen in 1988, is also considered to be extinct. Its call – a trembling whistle that ends with a long trill – was last heard in 1995.
The last confirmed sighting of Maui Nukupuu was in 1996. The honey tree inhabited the high-lying forests of Maui.
Kakawahie, also known as the Molokai creeper, was last sighted in 1963. The bird has a reputation for sounding like someone chopping wood, and Hawaiians traditionally used its red feathers on the cloaks and leis of Alii, or Hawaiian kings.
Poouli, also known as the black-faced honey-runner, inhabited the wet, easternmost side of Maui where its numbers due to habitat loss, mosquito-borne disease, predation by invasive species, and a decline in native tree snails, which the bird relied on for food.
A species of flowering plant in the mint family called Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis was endemic to Hawaii. It was last seen on Lanai in 1914.
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