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Birds threaten crops such as lychee, rambutan, mango, papaya, and corn

Kauai struggles with invasive parakeets

In Kauai, Hawaii, Bradley Smith, a local farmer, faces a significant challenge due to an invasive species of rose-ringed parakeets. Over the past year, these parakeets have caused a substantial loss of income for Smith by consuming a large portion of his rambutan crop. The impact of these birds is not isolated to Smith's farm; it is a widespread issue on the island, with potential crop losses across various farms reaching up to 75%.

The state of Hawaii is considering implementing a one-year pilot program aimed at controlling the parakeet population on Kauai and Oahu to mitigate the damage. Rep. Nadine Nakamura highlighted the severity of the situation, describing the parakeets as an invasive species that has become a significant problem. The birds, characterized by their bright green plumage and orange beaks, are known to feed on a variety of fruits and grains, thus posing a threat to crops such as lychee, mango, papaya, and corn.

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council has reported that these parakeets are responsible for a 10% annual crop loss on small farms, particularly impacting fruit and grain production. To protect his crops, Smith is considering investing in protective measures such as nets. The situation has also raised concerns regarding food security on the island, with invasive species like the parakeets exacerbating existing challenges.

The origin of the parakeet population in Kauai traces back to the accidental release of a few pet birds in the 1960s. Their numbers have since increased significantly, aided by the lack of natural predators and an abundance of food and suitable habitat.


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