ASSESSING AVIAN MALARIA AT THE LANDSCAPE SCALE IN HAWAI'I
|Cara M Thow; Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife ; firstname.lastname@example.org; Lainie Berry, Hanna Mounce, Lisa Crampton, Alex Wang
Avian malaria is a primary cause of native Hawaiian honeycreeper declines and extinctions. Without control or elimination of the malaria’s vector, the southern house mosquito, several endangered honeycreepers will become extinct within the next 5-10 years, and other remaining species will continue to decline. Additionally, climate change is contributing to the spread of mosquitoes and malaria into previously unaffected habitats through changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. The Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) and translocation of birds to refugia with lower disease prevalence provide hope for these critically endangered birds. Up-to-date data on the prevalence of avian malaria is essential to make informed decisions about implementation of IIT and feasibility of translocation efforts. To this end, Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, and Hawai’i Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife collaborated to obtain an unprecedented and comprehensive landscape-level snapshot of avian malaria in Hawai’i in 2022 by concurrently sampling birds and mosquitoes in key native forests on each respective island. We will present the current rates, intensity, and distribution of avian malaria in Hawai'i as well as updates on the progress of the on-ground efforts to address the extinction crisis in Hawaiian forest birds.