Vandals in the House

Koa bug. Credit: USFWS

The enormous toll invasive species impose on our lives daily can’t be counted only in dollars. Little fire ants make it more difficult for farmers to find willing workers. Rat lungworm disease costs people their health and harms sales of fresh produce. Coqui frogs have turned Hilo’s quiet nights into nothing more than a memory.

Go into the forest and weep at the thousands of acres taken over by alibizia and guava. Be properly terrified at the prospect of losing hundreds of thousands of acres of ‘ohi‘a – and all of the native plants and animals that associate with them. Fear for the loss of iconic palm landscapes to the coconut rhinoceros beetle.

Hawai‘i is known for its welcoming spirit, but when it comes to insects, fungi, plants, and other animals that pose serious threats to the natural environment and public health, it’s past time to pull in the welcome mat.

Stopping future invaders at the border won’t be cheap, except when you look at the cost of dealing with them once they become established here. The time is at hand to fully fund Hawai‘i’s biosecurity plan.


Rats Nearly Gone from Lehua Island

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Good news from Lehua!  The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reports that the small island, just off the western coast of Kaua`i, has seen a near-total reduction in the rat population following... READ MORE