Flora and Fauna

Hawaii Flora & Fauna

Due to the Hawaiian Islands' isolation, there are many plants and animals that evolved here into separate species. As man began to inhabit the islands, they brought with them the flora and fauna from their native lands. Many of these...

Hawaii Flora & Fauna

Due to the Hawaiian Islands' isolation, there are many plants and animals that evolved here into separate species.

As man began to inhabit the islands, they brought with them the flora and fauna from their native lands. Many of these species were well adapted to their new location and began to push out the indigent species. This process was accelerated by the arrival of Captain Cook and those that followed. Today Hawaii has many endangered species and there is a continuing effort to save them. Governmental agricultural inspections at points of entry aggressively work at keeping out unwanted species. Perhaps the best example is the fact that Hawaii has no indigent snakes and the few that can be found are under continuous eradication programs.

Hawaii has few native mammals and most of the islands' interiors are inhabited by wild pigs, horses, sheep, and goats brought by early settlers.

It’s on Maui that you are most likely to see the endangered nene goose and the rare silversword plant. Haleakala is the habitat for both. Maui is also known as the best island for viewing humpback whales on their yearly migration route to their birthing grounds.

nene gooseKauai has the largest number of native bird species in Hawaii. It is the only major island free of mongoose, which prey upon the eggs of ground-nesting birds. Of Hawaii’s two native mammals, the hoary bat lives in Kokee State Park while the Hawaiian monk seal occasionally hauls out and suns itself on some of the island’s more isolated beaches. Wild pigs, goats, and black-tailed deer are non-native mammals that are hunted.The most common tree in Kauai forests is the ohia lehua. Koa, guava, kiawe and kukui trees are also plentiful.

On the Big Island, wild horses roam in Waipio Valley, feral cattle graze on the slopes of Mauna Kea, while wild pigs, goats, and sheep are found in the interior.

Lanai has suffered the greatest loss of its native forests, plants, and birds of any of the main Hawaiian Islands. This has been as a result of drastic overgrazing.

Lanai has about 8000 axis deer, descendants from a herd of eight originally brought to Molokai from India in 1868.

The two most dominant forest types on Molokai are kiawe in the dryer areas, and ohia lehua in the wetter. Along the banks of streams, once heavily cultivated with taro, forests of kukui and guava now dominate. Guava is considered a "pest" in Hawaii as they tend to take over any area where they are found, choking out other growth.

Oahu has wild pigs and goats in its mountain valleys. Brush-tailed rock-wallabies, accidentally released in 1916, reside in the Kalihi Valley. Although rarely seen, the wallabies are of interest to zoologists because they may be an extinct subspecies in their native Australia.

Oahu has some excellent botanical gardens. Foster Garden and the Lyon Arboretum both have unique native and exotic species, some of which have disappeared from the wild.

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Quick Island Info

Oahu

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