Kauai’s refuge to use predator-proof fencing to protect plants, animals

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the availability of the final Environmental Assessment for the Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project on Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai.

The project will create a seven-acre refugium for native plant and animal communities and enhance existing seabird colonies on the refuge by using the latest technology in predator-proof fencing.

This will be the first predator-proof fence on Kauai.

The construction of a predator-proof fence would keep mammalian predators, such as cats, dogs, rats, mice, and potentially mongooses, out of the fenced area so that native species such as the endangered nēnē (Hawaiian goose), the mōlī (Laysan albatross), and rare plants can flourish again.

In addition, the absence of predators would make this restored site an appropriate future translocation site for the threatened ‘a’o (Newell’s shearwater) and for the reintroduction of rare native plants.

This type of fencing has been used in New Zealand and on Oahu, which resulted in record numbers of seabird chicks fledging in the year immediately following the project’s completion.

Fence construction is expected to commence in the summer of 2014 and take approximately three months to complete.

Project partners include the American Bird Conservancy, the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and several others.

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