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Belonging on an IslandBirds, Extinction, and Evolution in Hawai'i$
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Daniel Lewis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300229646

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300229646.001.0001

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Overcoming Extinction

Overcoming Extinction

Collectors, Stewardship, and the Palila

(p.128) Three Overcoming Extinction
Belonging on an Island

Daniel Lewis

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the Palila, Loxioides bailleui—a critically endangered honeycreeper on the Big Island whose survival is entangled with law, politics, culture, and biology. The bird historically inhabited Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, and the Big Island, but now is found only on the latter. A nexus of collectors and publications swirled around the first descriptions of the Palila's life history and, simultaneously, around the discovery of other new Hawaiian birds in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The Palila was first named as such in an 1890 publication, but it did not live in a vacuum—rather, it was part of an ecosystem of discoveries, birds, plants, and naturalists, whose work in the last decade of the nineteenth century created a constant buzz of interest and discovery for Western science.

Keywords:   Palila, Loxioides bailleui, honeycreeper, endangered species, Western science

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