BACKGROUND Information

Once widely distributed across the Hawaiian archipelago, and now 400-500 individuals, the Laysan duck is endangered and has had multiple translocation attempts. When future catastrophes strike, such as sudden flooding from sea level rise, tsunamis, and hurricanes, disease outbreaks, or accidental predator introductions, these disasters are unlikely to hit each island population simultaneously, or with the same magnitude, thus each island population serves as insurance for the species. Species extinction risks are dramatically reduced by restoring additional island populations and ultimately, Laysan ducks could be reintroduced to less vulnerable higher elevation islands in the future (USFWS 2009).

Because locations on higher islands (the main Hawaiian islands) are not yet free from predators or hybridization threats, recovery efforts focus on increasing the number of populations in the NWHI has remained a priority.

In 2014, after years of habitat restoration work and coordinating with multiple agencies, 28 wild first year Laysan Ducks were chosen to be apart of the first translocation from Midway to Kure for an additional ‘insurance’ population to reduce extinction risks to the species.
 
From 2005-2014, each season’s fieldwork would contribute to a succession of objectives focused on creating a habitable environment for this critically endangered population.

9

Years of Preparations

6

Guzzlers

2

Seaps

28

Laysan Ducks

FRESHWATER SEEPS AND GUZZLERS

FIELD SEASON 2005-2009

Two small ground water seeps (< 0.1 ha) were created and six freshwater guzzlers were installed to create habitat for Laysan ducks. Each respective seepʻs location was chosen for how low they were to the fresh water lens thus minimizing disturbance to the ground. The sand displaced from the excavation was re-distributed around the seep to cover the Verbesina seed bank, giving native flora and fauna space to thrive.

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KIPUKAWAI SEEP

Created: Field Season 2009
Location: Central Plains. 86 meters south of the US Coast Guard monument and anchor
Total Restoration Area: .90 acres
Total Seep Size: 12 meters in diameter
Water Level Area: 4 meters in diameter
Relative Shape: Almost Circular

BRAD'S PIT SEEP

Created: Field Season 2005-2008
Location: Central Plains. 20 meters west of the US Coast Guard monument and anchor
Total Restoration Area: .90 acres
Total Seep Size: 12 meters in diameter
Water Level Area: 4 meters in diameter
Relative Shape: Almost Circular

TRANSLOCATION UPDATE: 2020

A supplemental translocation is being planned for 2021 consisting of 10-25 added pre-breeder, wild Laysan ducks to Kure Atoll

In 2020, Kure Atoll supported approximately 60 adult birds or 20-30 potentially breeding pairs 6 years after the successful translocation from Midway Atoll. Reintroduction specialists recommend larger founding populations and long-term strategies for adding immigrants or supplemental birds to support the genetic diversity of these small isolated populations (Jaimeson 2010). However, the translocation plan for Kure called for two translocations for up to 50 founding birds and periodic immigrants yet only one translocation with 28 founding birds occurred.

A supplemental translocation is being planned for 2021 consisting of 10-25 added pre-breeder, wild Laysan ducks to Kure Atoll. Kure Atoll’s population of the endangered ducks reduces the species extinction risk and can be a source population for future translocations as well.