I can still remember my first visit to Kaua’i and was amazed to find so many roosters. I like most visitors wondered why in the world this beautiful tropical island had so many colorful roosters, and being from the country found it so funny to hear one crowing in the morning. The debate goes on about just how the roosters became so predominate on Kaua’i, but one of the theories associates Hurricane Iniki which hit Kaua’i in 1992 and decimated several chicken farms thus when the coops were destroyed the chickens and roosters were left to roam freely. There are no real natural predators to the roosters on the islands, for some reason the mongooses that keep them at bay on most of the other islands just did not like Kaua’i. Most return visitors to Kaua’i just accept them as part of the local culture and hardly notice them anymore, and they do take care of the insect population in part as well.
The Nene (pronounced NayNay) is the Hawai’i State Bird – a land bird and a variety of the Hawaiian Goose-found in some of the harshest of Hawaiian locations it has adapted itself to the lava rock and barren areas like in the Volcano National Park where I photographed this pair- Hunting and wild animals took its toll on the birds and all but destroyed the species until they were named as endangered species and protected by law in 1949 and the restoration project began to build the numbers back up throughout the islands. Both male and female have the same color of plumage a golden buff color with black head and distinct diagonal furrows that run the length of their neck.
Unlike most seals that prefer their home to be in frigid waters, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is a rare exception that makes its home in the warm waters around Hawaii. Getting its name from the folds of its skin that somewhat resembles a monk’s cowl, and habitually they are found alone or in very small groups. I think they just have the sweetest faces. The Hawaiian name for the monk seal is “llio holo I ka uaua which translated means – dog that runs in rough water. Due to their declining numbers caused by their coastal habitats being disturbed as humans occupy more and more coastline several resorts such as Grand Hyatt Kaua’i have partnered with Monk Seal Watch Program as well as the Waikiki Aquarium house a couple to educate the public. Today they are an endangered species but unfortunately their numbers continue to decline. The Monk Seal Foundation and other organizations work tirelessly as well to educate visitors and locals alike.
Other than the whales that visit the islands from late December through April and the pods of spinner dolphins found throughout the islands, probably one of the most photographed locals is the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (honu) such as the one I was lucky enough to catch sun bathing on the North Shore of Oahu. Considered a “Threatened Species”, the number of turtles found throughout the islands is increasing. This increase has occurred primarily through the mission of several organizations such as Malama na Honu, a non profit 501(c)(3) corportation with over 60 active volunteers that try to educate both locals and public alike. Honu guardian volunteers are on the beach every day to do their part to protect these beautiful creatures.
Contact: Linda Dancer Direct Line: 828-256-1520 Toll Free: 1-888-811-1888 ext 331