This year marked the one-year anniversary of operations at the Hawaii Wildlife Center! Thanks to the vital support of many donors like you and the dedicated sponsorship of our grantors, we have made remarkable strides forward in our programs this first year of operations, including our wildlife services, training programs, and research and educational partnerships.
On the wildlife services side, we have begun to set the standard for exceptional wildlife care, focusing on providing a quality, professional and science-based rehabilitation program that meets and exceeds national standards. There was no facility or organization that had met minimum standards before HWC in the Pacific Islands region, so this has been vital to the availability of care for sick or injured native birds and bats. Being a statewide resource, we have received wildlife in need of care from all main Hawaiian Islands and have expanded the number of heroic volunteer pilots in our air transport program to accommodate the increasing calls for response to sick and injured wildlife on neighbor islands. Our expertise and consultation services have also been utilized by the Pacific Islands, including Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan and American Samoa.
We have had 16 different species come through the Center this year, 5 of which were endangered, from all main Hawaiian Islands. The cases we saw were varied and ranged from animal attacks, impact injuries, car casualties, seabird fallout, or orphaned young chicks. We also fielded many wildlife response calls that came from throughout the State and worked with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife to facilitate the proper response. We have also been under heavy demand for wildlife response and conservation programs.
Programs serving the Hawaiian Archipelago included:
- Led 5-island (Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Hawaii) avian botulism preparedness program with approximate 150 attendees (30 per island)
- Assisted (and continue to assist) the Save our Shearwaters program on Kauai with wildlife response
- Gave a seabird response protocol presentation to Pulama Lanai
- Provided consultation to Midway for care and rehabilitation of White Terns
- Led a wildlife oil spill response training for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Programs serving the Pacific Islands included:
- Taught a wildlife rehabilitation training course with biologists from American Samoa.
- Assisted Rota (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) in response to a seabird die-off. Provided ongoing consultation and shipped response supplies.
- Assisted (and continue to assist) Saipan with seabird rehabilitation
- Provided consultation to Palmyra for care of wildlife
Research and Education
On the research and education front, we have expanded our collaboration with multiple research projects involving native species, many of which are focused on seabirds. We have also continued our partnership with the Kohala Middle School and have accommodated other school programs when staff availability allowed. We are now in the process of developing a master plan for our public area (courtyard, education pavilion, native garden and lawn), which will include interpretive and interactive exhibits highlighting the work at the Center and Hawaii’s native species. Once the exhibits are complete, we will be able to accommodating the rapidly growing demand for field trips from school groups.
Research projects we are currently assisting include:
- Endangered seabird genetics (Smithsonian)
- Plastics in seabirds (Hawaii Pacific University)
- Rodenticide toxicology study (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
- Biomonitoring of environmental contaminants in Pacific seabirds and other marine organisms (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Our education programs this year included:
- Guest presentation to the University of Hawaii (UH) Hilo Marine Options Program
- Participation in the first annual Conservation Career Day at UH Hilo
- Participation in career day at Kohala Middle School
- Collaboration with Kohala Middle School Hale Ike for service project
- Led educational field trip for a class of approximately 20 students from Holualoa Elementary
- Created educational display at the Thelma Parker Memorial Public Library in Waimea
- Participated in community events including Earth Day in Kona, Kamehameha Day in Kohala, Science Alive! at Bishop Museum and Palila Palooza at Imiloa Astronomy Center.
Volunteer Program and Professional Partnerships
Our volunteer program has also continued to grow. We have about 40 active volunteers currently and the number of volunteer applications has been increasing as we step up our recruitment. Our volunteer air and ground transport program (known as the Wings and Wheels for Wildlife) has continued to develop as well. In response, we have formalized our volunteer program, including specialized volunteer trainings and schedules when necessary.
Our conference attendance and working group participation has continued to increase as well. The HWC continues to participate in the Hawaii Conservation Conference, with over 1,000 attendees, and continues to be active in response planning with the Hawaii Area Committee. The HWC was also recently invited to present at the first annual Big Island Conservation Forum, speaking to a group of over 200 individuals in conservation on Hawaii Island. In addition, President and Center Director Linda Elliott has just participated in and was a presenter at the Wetlands & Waterbird Workshop on Oahu. Articles written by HWC were also published in the Pacific Seabird Group journal and Elepaio, the journal of the Hawaii Audubon Society. Our native garden at the Center was certified as wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and an article about the HWC was included in the latest issue of the National Wildlife Federation Magazine as well.
We also saw our public impact and visitor statistics continue to soar. This year to date, we have had nearly 1,000 visitors to our facility, have given over 200 tours and answered well over 2,000 questions about native wildlife, wildlife response and our work at the Center. Visitors came from all over and ranged from local residents to national and international visitors.
Overall, we have definitely been busy this past year! The HWC has elevated the standards of wildlife care in Hawaii and our qualifications, experience and professional reputation has allowed us to connect with many individuals, groups and companies interested in our services and impressed by our reach and impact. We couldn’t have done it all without the support of our ‘ohana; the donors, volunteers, partners, and supporters that give us the momentum we need to keep moving forward. Next year holds even more exciting things and we need your help to keep the progress going. Please celebrate all that we have accomplished so far and support us in 2014 by making a gift today! Click here to donate.
Mahalo nui everyone! Here’s to a wonderful 2014!