Small and stocky with a partial black face described as a bandit’s mask, the Hawaiian bird known as the po’ouli has peaked scientists interest since it was first discovered in 1973. Known only to exist near the slopes of the Haleakala volcano in Maui, the bird’s numbers have always alarmed conservationists, and now, tragically, the species seems destined for extinction. The demise of the po’ouli can be attributed to predators like rats and mongoose, as well as diseases being spread by mosquitos. Efforts to save the last three po’ouli were dashed when one died in captivity and the other two vanished in the wild. Wildlife officials hope tissue samples may one day resurrect the species through cloning.
August 22, 2009 by CFACT,
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