The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared nearly two dozen species extinct, including nine species from Hawaii.

The federal agency on Wednesday proposed delisting the lost species from the Endangered Species Act. Removing species from the list would trigger the agency and its partners to stop searching for them.

Eight of the nine species thought to be extinct are Hawaiian forest birds. The other is a plant species in the mint family formerly found only in Hawaii.

The last three poouli, also known as the black-faced honeycreeper, died in captivity in 2004. The bird was endemic to Maui. Courtesy: Center for Biological Diversity/2021

Dubbed the endangered species capital of the world, Hawaii is home to hundreds of varieties of threatened plants and animals.

Only 17 native forest bird species are left in the islands, down from more than 50 that evolved here over thousands of years, according to the Audubon Society. And nearly all of those that persist appear poised for extinction in this century as threats to their survival intensify with the onset of climate change.

As climate change drives up temperatures in Hawaii’s mountaintop forests, deadly mosquitoes are moving toward the summit, threatening to eliminate the birds’ only disease-free frontier.

Many native plants are also in peril. All told, 130 of the state’s 1,360 native plant species have already gone extinct.

The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity said in a press release that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been slow to protect imperiled species, citing a 2016 study that found species waited a median of 12 years to receive safeguards. At least 47 species have gone extinct while waiting for protection, the nonprofit says.

Once a species is declared endangered, it receives funding for protection — but often the amount of funding is inadequate, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

Roughly one in four species receives less than $10,000 a year toward recovery, according to the nonprofit.

Hawaii’s Nine Species Proposed For Delisting

Mosquito-borne disease and habitat loss led to the extinction of Kauai akialoa, a Hawaiian honeycreeper that lived only on the island of Kauai, Kauai nukupuu, another honeycreeper, and Kauai oo, a songbird with a bell-like call.

Once considered the most common bird on Kauai, the kamao, a large thrush, was last seen in 1987.

Also believed to be lost to extinction is the Maui akepa, a bird last seen in 1988. Its call — a quivering whistle ending with a long trill — was last heard in 1995.

The last confirmed sighting of Maui nukupuu was in 1996. The honeycreeper inhabited Maui’s high-elevation forests.

Kakawahie, also known as the Molokai creeper, was last sighted in 1963. The bird has a call that sounded like someone chopping wood and Hawaiians traditionally used its red feathers for the capes and leis of alii, or Hawaiian royalty.

Poouli, also known as the black-faced honeycreeper, inhabited the wet, easternmost side of Maui, where it rapidly decreased in numbers because of habitat loss, mosquito-borne diseases, predation by invasive species and a decline in the native tree snails that the bird relied on for food.

A species of flowering plant in the mint family called phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis was endemic to Hawaii. It was last seen on Lanai in 1914.

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