More than 45 fourth-grade students from Wilcox Elementary School helped release five young Newell’s shearwaters back into the wild Tuesday as part of the annual E Ho’opomaika’i ‘ia na Manu ‘A’o (A Cultural Release of the Native Newell’s Shearwater) event.
"This is a very special opportunity for Kauai students to personally experience the difference they can make in the lives of these endangered seabirds," said William J. Aila Jr., director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
About 90 percent of the world’s population of Newell’s shearwaters is found on Kauai. The species is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, meaning that it is found nowhere else in the world.
The species is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and has undergone a dramatic population decline of about 75 percent in recent years.