State hunt to protect endangered Big Island bird

Published On: Jul 05 2013 04:30:00 PM HST

The Palila bird is approaching extinction. Part of the reason is because of sheep that have been eating their habitat. Now the birds may get a second chance at life. Thanks to aerial sheep hunts that are back on.

The state says it will hunt feral sheep and goats on the Big Island in coming weeks to protect habitat for the endangered palila songbird.
    
The Department of Land and Natural Resources said Friday it will hunt goats, mouflon sheep, feral sheep and sheep hybrids in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and Kaohe Game Management Area.
    
Some hunting will be conducted by aerial shooting in compliance with a federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from palila critical habitat.
    
Sheep eat and trample on the mamane trees the palila rely on for food.
    
A 2010 U.S. Geological Survey study estimated there were only about 1,200 palila left.
    
The hunts are scheduled for July 15-16, Aug. 28-29, and Sept. 3-6.

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