Foreign or alien invaders to the islands are the major cause of Hawaii's species becoming endangered. Long ago, the Polynesians brought domestic animals like the dogs, pigs, and chickens. These animals harmed endemic (native) birds and other small species. The polynesians destroyed many of the native species' habitats by clearing forests to grow crops and to build their homes.

The animal that is doing the most harm to our native species and rainforest is the feral pig that is closely linked to the European boars. They have destroyed many of the native species' habitats and the creatures that depended on them. These feral (wild) pigs crush, eat, and uproot plants. They gnaw at the roots of the plants causing the plants and trees to die. When the trees die, the dirt has nothing to keep it in place. When there is heavy rainfall, the dirt slides and the land starts to erode. Our rivers, streams, lakes, and ocean become polluted from the dirt that rolls down the hills. The feral pigs also wallow (roll around in mud) in the forest ground which become a perfect place for mosquitos to breed in.

The mosquitos is also a threat to our native birds, especially the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, apapane, by transmitting a disease called Avian (bird) Malaria.

The mongoose and the rats were introduced by the Europeans and have caused harm to our native species. The mongoose were purposely brought in to kill off the rats in the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately, they didn't study them well enough, and their plan failed because the mongoose sleeps in the night and hunts in the day, and the rat sleeps in the day and hunts in the night, so they never met. Therefore, in order to survive, the mongoose and the rats are doing harm to our native species by harming the ground nesting birds such as the Hawaii's state bird, the Nene goose..

Read more about foreign invaders

[HOME][students' reports][lesson plan][photogallery] [scavenger hunt]