HWC Celebrates 1,000 Patients!
We are excited to announce that we have received our 1,000th patient since opening! Our 1,000 patient is a Manu o Kū (White Tern) from O‘ahu. It arrived late on Monday, May 4th, 2020 along with two other O‘ahu patients, a Black-Crowned Night-Heron (patient #999) and another White Tern (patient #1001).
HWC operates with a staff of five. As with many small, home-grown organizations, our operations started off gradually then grew as word spread about our wildlife services. The 1,000 patients cared for to date include over 40 different species of native birds as well as the Hawaiian hoary bat.
Growth through the years:
HWC aims to serve as a resource to help people and wildlife coexist. Each patient that is successfully returned to the wild contributes to the health of Hawaii’s native wildlife populations. HWC sees a wide range of injuries and ailments come in to the Center, a majority of which could be attributed to human activities. These include injuries from vehicle or building collisions, entanglement in barbed wire or fishing gear, gunshot wounds, predator attacks, light disorientation, poisoning from toxins like rodenticides, contaminant spills, and even impact injuries from errant golf balls. HWC works to get all patients on an appropriate course of treatment with the ultimate goal to return patients back to the wild.
NATIVE WILDLIFE CARE: CHALLENGING, BUT REWARDING!
Here’s a glimpse at some of the wildlife patients we have cared for over the years.
Endangered Hawaiian Petrel admitted on October 23, 2014 with blisters on feet. HWC made “booties” for the bird so its feet could heal properly. Patient was released a month later.
Warrior Princess (15-4)
Endangered Hawaiian Hawk admitted on January 31, 2015 with injuries sustain from a gunshot. This particular patient would never regain full use of the wing that was shattered by the gunshot, but she was a fighter. She was nicknamed “Warrior Princess” by the people that rescued her. The bird was in care for 75 days before she was transferred to the Honolulu Zoo to be an ambassador animal.
Endangered Hawaiian Hawk chick admitted on November 14, 2013. The baby hawk was found on the ground and efforts to return it to its nest were unsuccessful. We typically don’t name patients, but since this was going to be a long-term care patient, it was given a name in honor of John Keawe, respected musician, Kohala community member, and long-time supporter of HWC. Read more about Keawe here.
Northern Pintail (15-39)
Migrant species rescued in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island on October 29, 2015. It was found in poor condition. It ate very well in care and became stronger during its time at HWC. It was at our facility for about a month and a half before it was released at Kaloko-Honokohau.
Nene Chick (16-2)
Endangered Hawaiian Goose chick with a broken leg rescued on Maui and admitted to HWC on January 26, 2016. The leg was repaired and splinted and the patient was set up with a comprehensive medication plan for its recovery. At first the fracture site seemed unstable, but it slowly got better to the point where there was a noticeable increase in the bird using his injured leg. Eventually the splint was able to be removed. Upon removing the splint, the young Nene gave the biggest stretch of his previously-restricted leg. What a sight! This patient was released on February 18, 2016.
Migratory Ruddy Turnstone that was found emaciated on Maui and was admitted to HWC on February 6, 2016. This patient spent a couple of weeks at HWC eating, exercising, and gearing up for her migration back to the tundra. She was released about a month later.
Least Tern (16-22)
This migratory patient admitted on June 14, 2016 was especially memorable for two reasons. First, it had a geolocator tag on its leg! Second, it had got in to trouble at a pond where there was soybean oil on the surface to keep away insects so it was completely soiled. Once the patient was stable, it went through a wash. This was a very short-term patient. It was only in care for two days before it was released!
Endangered Hawaiian Stilt that was rescued as a very young chick and brought to HWC on June 2, 2016. Healthwise it appeared to be fine, it was just too young to be on its own and was not able to be reunited with its parents. The patient ate very well while in care, feasting on krill, blood worms, and shrimp. It was in care for about two months before it matured to release age. We were fortunate to be able to document the birds growth while in care.
Sooty Shearwater (14-13)
HWC received a call from a volunteer around 12:30PM on May 2, 2014 to report a distressed seabird that was picked up about a quarter mile off the Kailua-Kona Pier and brought to shore. Upon intake, the bird was clearly oiled; soiled, disheveled, and with 100% coverage by a brown substance. A petroleum smell also pervaded the intake room and HWC President and Center Director Linda Elliott, having 20 years of oiled wildlife experience, determined the substance covering the bird to be diesel. After the bird’s initial intake exam, it was also determined to be dehydrated and experiencing moderate hypothermia. The bird was given fluids and placed in kennel with a custom-built net bottom and a heat source while staff worked to get the patient stable. The bird received weeks of care and was decontaminated, but ultimately expired due to secondary complications.
Oiled wildlife response requires extensive experience, wildlife response and rehabilitation permits and the appropriate safety training and certifications. This ensures that wildlife is handled appropriately and safely, that all necessary documentation and evidence is collected, and that protocols are followed and appropriate agencies are notified. Oiled wildlife response is also very expensive because anything that the oiled bird touches becomes classified as hazardous and cannot be washed and reused for normal patients.
This young owl was rescued on Kaua‘i and was suffering from a wing fracture and eye injury. The team at the Save our Shearwaters program provided the initial care then transferred the patient to HWC so the bird could use our flight aviary. He spent a little over a month in care at HWC. He recovered from his injuries and was able to build his flight muscles back into shape. He was sent back to the Save our Shearwaters team on April 28, 2017 for release.
This Black Noddy was admitted on April 18, 2018 with a wing fracture. Upon examination, it was found that the bird could not fly. It was kept on cage rest and provided medications to help relieve the swelling of the injury site. Eventually the bird was able to make short flights. Staff continued with physical therapy and the patient continued to improve. The patient was released on April 29 at Kawaihae harbor. It was noted that the bird stayed flighted and soared around until it was out of sight.
This Laysan Albatross hit a power line and was admitted to HWC on April 17, 2018 with a few wounds on its body and wing as well as an injured beak. It took about a month and a half for the patient’s wounds to heal and for its waterproofing to be restored. When the bird was ready to go, a crew from Waikoloa Coast Divers and Sportfishing took our staff and the albatross out on their boat for release!
Brown Booby (18-31)
This booby was admitted on May 20, 2018 with severe wing trauma… there was a gap in his wing! This patient was from Oahu. Veterinarians at Feather and Fur Animal Hospital closed up the wound and the patient spent the next three and half months healing and building up strength in order to fly again. He spent lots of time in the seabird aviary as well as out on the conditioning pool. He also had a healthy appetite and ate all the fish presented to him. He was released on September 2, 2018. Notes from the release indicate that his flight was great and he did a lot of soaring above the water.
When this young endangered Hawaiian Goose was brought to HWC on December 27, 2018, it was not able to stand. Its keel was also flattened in such a way that it looked like the gosling was stepped on. The youngster was sent to Feather and Fur Animal Hospital where they were able to correct the injuries that were preventing it from standing. When it arrived back at our facility, the Nene gosling was able to stand and walk. The youngster was transferred over to DOFAW to be reunited with its family about a week later.
Not all heroes wear capes, but some make booties for Nene! The team at Feather and Fur rock!
This Hawaiian Owl was caught in a hit and run on May 9, 2019. Luckily, a good samaritan saw it happened, pulled over and immediately called HWC for help. We were able to connect the rescuer with DOFAW staff that were able to locate the bird and bring it to our facility. The bird’s wing was fractured. It took months of treatment, monitoring, medications, physical therapy, and enrichment to get the owl back to health and using its wing properly. The patient was released on August 28, 2019.
Endangered Hawaiian Hoary Bat admitted to HWC on August 17, 2019. This bat was hit by a wind turbine and because the staff at the site were proactive in their monitoring for downed/hit wildlife, the bat was discovered in time for it to be rescued and sent to our facility for care. This shows that not all wildlife encounters with wind turbines are automatically a fatality.
The patient had a fractured scapula, which was preventing it from flying. As its fracture healed, it started doing short flights and staff started physical therapy. It stayed in care at HWC for about two months before it was released on October 6. It was banded before release.
AND FINALLY… A SNAPSHOT OF HWC MILESTONES
WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT’S NEXT!
The Hawai‘i Wildlife Center becomes a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
Site blessing and ground breaking ceremonies kicks off the construction of the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center native bird and bat rehabilitation center!
Hawai‘i Wildlife Center construction years
Hawai‘i Wildlife Center celebrates its Grand Opening! Over 400 community members attended the event.
Wildlife rehabilitation operations begin in September. The first patient at HWC was a young Red-footed Booby from Kaua‘i.
HWC goes to Midway and Kure Atoll for Operation Laysan Duck
Partnership for Lana‘i wildlife rescue begins. HWC also opens the first phase of its Ho‘opulama Science and Discovery Center.
HWC launches the O‘ahu Seabird Aid Program
Partnership with the Honolulu Zoo for a white tern soft release site begins!
HWC’s 1,000th patient arrives!