Study says climate change ups risks to Hawaii birds
HONOLULU — A new report spearheaded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a warming planet will increase the avian malaria threat to Hawaii’s already endangered birds.
The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change said Thursday native birds living higher than 5,000 feet on the Big island and Maui are generally able to avoid malaria.
That’s because the disease doesn’t fully develop in birds when temperatures are below 55 degrees.
But if average temperatures increase by 4 degrees as some scientific models predict, areas above 5,000 feet will get hotter.
The report says Maui’s Hanawi Natural Area Reserve could lose 57 percent of its remaining low-risk area, increasing the malaria threat to the Maui parrotbill and the akohekohe birds.