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Kauai students release endangered shearwaters

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:16 a.m. HST, Oct 25, 2013

Fourth-graders from Kauai's Island School will release fledging endangered Newell Shearwaters on Oct. 28.

The birds had been rehabilitated by the Save Our Shearwaters Program, which is a Department of Land and Natural Resources's forestry and wildlife project, administered by the Pacific Co-operative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii. The Save Our Shearwaters Program is housed at the Kauai Humane Society.

On Thursday, students from Wilcox Elementary School released five fledgling 'A'o or Newell's Shearwaters as part of the annual E Ho'opomaika'i 'ia na Manu 'A'o (A Cultural Release of the Native Newell's Shearwater) event.

The 'A'o is an endangered seabird found only on the Hawaiian Islands. Kauai is the last main refuge of the species with an estimated 90 percent of the world population found on the island. 

"This event gives local school children the chance to see and appreciate these unique birds," said Brooke McFarland, KESRP avian conservation research associate, who organized the event. "By talking to children about the conservation issues surrounding this species, and highlighting the fact that Kauai is the last main refuge in the World for the 'A'o, we can inspire the next generation into helping protect the species."

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