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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Working Together to Preserve and Protect

Monday and Tuesday I've was back in Hawaii, meeting with refuge and law enforcement staff, and visiting some truly inspirational places.

At Ka'ena Point, on the northwest corner of Oahu, I saw how we have worked with our state partners to build an exclusionary fence and remove dogs, cats, mongoose, rats, and mice from this sensitive area. The response has been rapid. Laysan albatross are nesting, and the Secretary of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (William Aila) boasted that, "One day this area will look like Midway Atoll, with thousands of nesting albatross."
William Aila Talks about the land at Ka'ena Point Credit: USFWS

Tuesday, I visited a place I've wanted to see for a long, long time -- Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge staff did a great job showing off the place. Their greenhouse full of native plants is incredible, including a Hawaiian mint that was thought to be extinct.  I saw several species of endangered Hawaiian birds. Their struggles against exotic cattle, pigs, deer, plants, mosquitos, and now changing climate, are Herculean.

The forest is magical. They are keeping it that way. Today, we'll climb up to Moana Kea in hopes of seeing a critically endangered bird, the Pallila. A rebuilt fence may be it's last best chance for survival. 


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