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Volume 16, Number 11 May 2006

Guest Opinion: Science and the Art of the Solvable In Hawai`i's Extinction Crisis

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

-- Albert Einstein

On November 29, 2004, a male po`ouli died of what was effectively old age while in captivity in Hawai`i. The only two other known birds of this species, both at least five years old, have not been seen in more than a year and the species is now presumed extinct. With the passing of the po`ouli, it is appropriate to ask what Hawai`i’s latest avian loss tells us about the state of terrestrial conservation and conservation science in the archipelago. Does the po`ouli’s demise reflect the ineffectiveness of conservation efforts in Hawai`i or is it merely an unlucky fluke?

By David Cameron Duffy and Fred Kraus*

*David Duffy ( directs the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and is professor of botany at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa. Fred Kraus is a herpetologist with the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

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Article Keywords

Hawaii extinction crisis david duffy fred kraus po`ouli poouli invasive conservation habitat protection restoration endangered species
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