Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 16, 2020


Maxx Phillips, (808) 284-0007,

Legal Victory Secures Habitat Protection for 14 Imperiled Hawaii Island Species

HONOLULU— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must designate protected critical habitat for 14 endangered Hawaii Island species because of a legal victory by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The rare species, which are now required to receive protection no later than Feb. 29, 2024, include 12 plants, one anchialine pool shrimp and a picture-wing fly.

Habitat loss to urbanization, invasive species and climate change is pushing these vulnerable species toward extinction.

“I’m so glad these 14 Hawaii Island species, that are found nowhere else on Earth, will finally get badly needed habitat protections,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center’s Hawaii director. “Safeguarding the places these plants and animals require for survival will benefit these unique species, and it’ll help protect vulnerable parts of Hawaii for future generations.”

The legal victory follows the Center’s 2019 lawsuit challenging the agency’s failure to designate critical habitat for these 14 plants and animals. The species, such as the ko‘oko‘olau and hāhā, are highly vulnerable to extinction because of their small population size and habitat loss. Habitat protections are now more than six years overdue.

“We’re in the midst of a heartbreaking wildlife extinction crisis, losing about one species every hour, and Hawaii is at the leading edge,” Phillips said. “Habitat destruction is the number one cause of this disaster. As with so many threats in these uncertain times, the Trump administration’s hostility to science is making this problem so much worse, imperiling native wildlife and people alike.”

Bidens_hillebrandiana_Pauwela_Karl_Magnacca_FPWC_Media_Use_Ok .jpg
Ko‘oko‘olau (Bidens hillebrandiana). Photo courtesy of Karl Magnacca. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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