The nest belonged to an akikiki, a small gray-and-white bird that feeds on insects, doesn’t sing much and has noticeably large feet. As head of the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project, Crampton is tasked with saving the akikiki, along with the rest of the island’s endangered birds. Even by conservation standards, this can be dispiriting work. Of Kauai’s eight remaining native forest birds, four are listed as endangered or threatened, including a honeycreeper so rare that researchers have managed to find just 14 of its eggs in three years, of which only four have survived.
On a hike for egg collection. Credit Spencer Lowell for The New York Times
When Crampton took over the program, in 2010, it was focused on protecting a reclusive bird known as the small Kauai thrush, which had been on the verge of extinction for years. Not long after she arrived, though, the situation changed. While thrush numbers were up, thanks in part to a successful captive-breeding program, the number of akikiki had plummeted. “The surveys weren’t picking up any akikiki,” Crampton told me, “like, none.”
I love this article, thank you NYT. I haven’t finished it yet, but have my own two cents. I just finished reading “Half Earth” by Edward O Wilson of Harvard, which I recommend to all literate progressives and regressives. 7.5 billion people, we are the new meteor that is causing the sixth extinction. Wilson et al, in the Half Earth research project, recommend that we should, we must, set aside half of the earth for non human species, or we will lose 50 to 80% of the earths species in the next 100 years or less. What he mentions without detail, is their firm belief that homo sapiens will go extinct if all these other species do. I need source recommendations on this argument. It makes sense though, that we are not the kings and queens of the complex, not yet understood biosphere, we are part of it and dependent on it. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com