Albatrosses killed, many nests ruined
Three Laysan albatrosses were killed, several others are missing, and 15 nests were destroyed at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve, state conservation enforcement officials said Wednesday. The birds were killed some time between Sunday and Monday afternoons, said Marigold Zoll, a state Division of Forestry and Wildlife manager.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Three Laysan albatrosses were killed, several others are missing, and 15 nests were destroyed at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve, state conservation enforcement officials said Wednesday.
The birds were killed some time between Sunday and Monday afternoons, said Marigold Zoll, a state Division of Forestry and Wildlife manager.
State officials, holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said a hiker reported seeing a dead albatross near a trail, and a subsequent investigation led to the discovery of other dead birds and disturbed nests.
DLNR said an inventory of Laysan albatross nests at Kaena found that 15 nests had been destroyed, “with either smashed, dead or missing eggs.” Attending adults were missing from 12 nests, and the bodies of three adult birds were found.
Three seabird monitoring cameras along with sound equipment valued at $3,100 were also missing.
Laysan albatrosses are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and under state wildlife rules. It is illegal to kill, capture or possess them.
Federal penalties upon conviction are up to $15,000 in fines and one year in jail per incident, and state penalties are up to $10,000 in fines and $5,000 for harmed animals. The death of one Laysan albatross constitutes a single incident, Zoll said.
Zoll said a human being can easily approach a nesting Laysan albatross and hurt it. “They’re very docile,” she said.
Some 400 Laysan albatrosses live in the colony at Kaena Point.
In 2009, a colony of up to 50 Laysan albatrosses at Kuaokala in the northern Waianae Mountains disappeared with no trace of remains. What caused the disappearance was never discovered, Zoll said.
A new colony may take decades to form, because female Laysan albatrosses take several years to reach breeding age and will typically raise just one chick a year, according to DLNR. Adult albatross birds can live more than 60 years.
DLNR is asking anyone who may have witnessed any persons or vehicles in the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve between Sunday evening and Monday morning to contact Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.
More information about Kaena Point reserve is available online at dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/nars/oahu/kaena.