Institution Growing 99 of the 142 species
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kalāheo, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i (March 10, 2010) - Speaking from the headquarters of the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) on Kaua‘i, the institution’s Director and CEO Chipper Wichman praised the announcement made today in Washington, DC that 45 of Kaua‘i’s native plants will be added to the federal list of endangered species and that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency responsible for the list, is now taking an ecosystem-based approach for the protection of these species.
The landmark announcement will bring the number of plant species on Kaua‘i listed as endangered or threatened to 142. The new listings will also include two birds and one insect which, as pollinators, play an important role in the survival of plants. Overall, Hawai‘i is home to nearly one-quarter of all federally listed threatened and endangered plant and animal species in the U.S.. Approximately 90 percent of the native species of the archipelago occur nowhere else in the world.
Wichman said, “This monumental ruling is historical in its scope and significance. Many of us have long realized the importance of looking at ecosystems holistically because of the interdependency of these life forms. Recognition of Kaua‘i as a hotspot in the battle to prevent species from going extinct brings even greater focus to the importance of this work. This decision is a really big deal for Kaua‘i and for all of Hawai‘i. It should help leverage funding and increase protection for these unique species.”
The institution itself is growing 99 of the 142 Kaua‘i species. Native plants in NTBG’s gardens and preserves (nearly 2,000 acres) and in its extensive greenhouse facilities on Kaua‘i total in the tens of thousands, constituting the largest collection of native Hawaiian species in existence. Its programs include field exploration, collection, propagation, and restoration of Hawaiian plant populations and ecosystems, and education for students, professionals, and the general public. Explorations and surveys by Garden field botanists provided some of the wild population data on the Kaua‘i species being added.
To protect these native species, on its properties, in the wild, and on privately owned lands, the nonprofit, nongovernmental NTBG works collaboratively with a number of government agencies, such as the USFWS and Hawai‘i’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, as well as public and private organizations and individuals on Kaua‘i, throughout the state, and across the nation, including The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, the Center for Plant Conservation, the Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana, and Kamehameha Schools.
NTBG’s mission is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions. NTBG is supported primarily through donations and grants.
Media contact: Chipper Wichman/Janet L. Leopold, email@example.com, (808) 332-7324, ext. 213 at NTBG Headquarters
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