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Hard Work in Paradise: A Profile of a Midway Atoll Biologist


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It was the middle of a traditional ceremony to maintain cultural ties to a tiny atoll, which sits on the northwest of the Hawaiian archipelago about a third of the way from Honolulu to Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. One of the Hawaiian traditional practitioners was chanting in a circle that included several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists who had been working to conserve native species, eradicate invasives and return Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to some semblance of what it might have been before decades of cosmetic landscaping and a world war had transformed the 2.4-square mile landscape. Part of the ceremony included participants sharing a small coconut shell filled with ‘awa — a traditional, mildly sedative drink that has a numbing effect on the lips — when a Laysan duck (Anas laysanensis) wandered into the circle. “Having the Laysan duck enter the circle was magical and a culmination of some of the major conservation restoration activities to date,” said John Klavitter, then a biologist and deputy refuge manager at the atoll. One of the many projects he’d been involved with on Midway Atoll had been the reintroduction of the endangered Laysan [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/hard-work-in-paradise-a-profile-of-a-midway-atoll-biologist/

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