MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – The Grand Opening of the Palila Forest Discovery Trail was held on Wednesday.
A new interpretative loop trail will give people a chance to see palila and other native species up close in their distinctive ecosystem.
The palila bird is a highly endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper. Only 2,000 remain, experts say, all of them on the slopes of Mauna Kea.
The Palila Forest Discovery Trail is a cooperative project of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project and the American Bird Conservancy. The mile long trail includes informational kiosks and identification signs with QRC symbols – or quick response codes – which allow visitors to learn more on their smartphones.
“This new trail will bring folks closer to a remote and often unfamiliar area of Hawaiʻi,” said Jackson Bauer, the trail’s coordinator. “People will be able to see the critically endangered palila and learn about its māmane forest home.”
“As with many of Hawai‘i’s unique species, not enough people are aware of the palila’s precarious situation and the need for urgent action,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s Hawai‘i Program Director. “We believe educating people about the importance of this species, and raising awareness about the threats we are managing today, will build local and national support for the actions necessary to preserve this bird for future generations, such as habitat restoration and non-native species control.”