Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Air Force base in Hawaii to dim exterior lights blamed for deaths of endangered birds

Exterior lights at Kokee Air Force Station
(Center for Biological Diversity photo)
The Air Force this week "agreed to reduce exterior lighting at a mountaintop radar facility on Kauai, Hawaii, to better protect endangered and threatened seabirds," William Cole reports for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The Center for Biological Diversity had threatened to file a lawsuit against the Kokee Air Force Station, claiming exterior lighting led to "fall out"—tumbling out of the air from exhaustion or striking a structure—of 130 birds in 2015, including Hawaiian petrels, endangered band-rumped storm petrels and Newell's shearwaters, Cole writes. The center, which said the birds are attracted to the light, said most of the 130 birds died. The center threatened to sue in June 2016, saying the Air Force "was violating the Endangered Species Act" by not updating its formal consultation about seabirds with the Fish and Wildlife Service. In response to the Air Force announcement, the center said it will no longer sue.

The Save our Shearwaters program at the Kauai Humane Society said its staff handled 471 downed seabirds in Kauai in 2015, Cole writes. There are an estimated 21,000 Newell's shearwaters and 19,000 Hawaiian petrels remaining in existence, according to the group.

No comments: