Hawaii is very different from most landmasses in the world. Unlike most landmasses, it didn't escape from the larger landmass (like Madagascar) or become separated by rising sea levels (such as the Indonesian islands). Hawaii is not a part of any continental crust, those are the tops of massive volcanoes protruding above the surface of the ocean that's been formed through the Hawaiian hotspot underneath them.Those are the most isolated number of islands on the planet which has already established a significant effect on the types of plant and animals life which has managed to get there. The majority of the native wildlife are birds, so watching birds is among the less frequent things to do during Big Island.
The earth's Most Isolated Archipelago
The Hawaiian islands are located around 3680 kilometers or 2,300 miles in the nearest continental shore. The isolation means that the native plants and animals located on the islands today are the results of early and very infrequent colonizations over a period of around 5 million years (the hawaiian islands first emerged above the water around 10 million years ago – although now sunken islands in the chain have been around for considerably longer).
- Isolated: The Hawaiian Islands Are The Most Isolated In The World
- Distance: They Remain 3,680 Kilometers or 2,300 Miles In the Nearest Continental Shore
- Period: They Happen to be Colonized By Animals For approximately 5 Million Years
- Endemic: Around 90% from the Species In Hawaii Are Endemic
Once plants and animals arrived around the islands, they were in near-perfect isolation, consequently, the hawaiian islands boast a lot of endemic species to the islands. Rays of species seen in the Galápagos Islands is even exceeded within the more isolated Hawaiian Islands.
The islands are also very ecologically diverse. On the higher mountains, you will find trade winds fields and the islands may go through extreme rain shadow effects. One for reds from the island could be dry tropical while the other side might be wet tropical and the slopes may be tropical rainforest.
The sheer distance of the islands from anywhere means that only birds and seeds and spores that may travel that distance were able to make and colonize the hawaiian islands.
A Native Fauna Without Predators and Competitors
Like also isolated Nz towards the far south, the native fauna of Hawaii has additionally evolved in the absence of predators and competitors.
That means that the plants haven't developed defenses – like thorns or poisons. The native birds however lost their sense of fear. It's believed that before the arrival of humans to the islands, there have been around 67 species of birds.
The first Polynesian settlers began to arrive around the islands at around 500 AD. They upended the ecosystem bringing along pigs, horses, sheep, goats, and dogs. Within the years since that time, around a third from the island's native species of birds have gone extinct.
Unfortunately, over the past 200 years, more types of birds have become extinct here than elsewhere on the planet.
- Birds: There Were Around 67 Species of Birds
- Extinct: Around A Third Of The Birds Are Extinct
- Mammals: Only The Hawaiian Monk Seal and Hoary Bat
- Other Animals: No Amphibians, Mosquitoes, Reptiles, or Bugs
- Hawaiian Monk Seal: Driven Towards the Fringe of Extinction in the 1800s – Has Made a Return Since that time
- Extinct: 23 Species Are Extinct Endangered: 30 Species Are Endangered
To control more unwanted species within the Hawaiian islands, one can expect strict biological controls as with Australia and New Zealand – no apples!
The Animals Of Hawaii
Hawaii even more than New Zealand was the domain of birds. There have been no amphibians, mosquitoes, reptiles, or bugs on the islands. There were only two endemic mammals – the Hawaiian monk seal and also the hoary bat (mammals that flew or swam there). It's thought that the hoary bat was accidentally blown to the islands from North or South America. There are no snakes endemic snakes in Hawaii and there are continuous eradication programs to help keep it that way.
Kauai is the home from the largest number of native birds species and Hawaii and stays free of the obnoxious mongoose.
- Hoary Bat: Lives At Koke's State Park
The wild goats, pigs, black-tailed deer that one can see on the islands aren't native and are hunted. Within the Kalihi Valley there are difficult to see rock wallabies Body thing interesting about these is that they can be a subspecies which has now gone extinct back in Australia.
Hotspots for seeing Hawaii's native wildlife are in the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai, the Kealia Pond on Maui, and Kanaha Wildlife Sanctuary on Maui.
- State Bird: The Nene – a Type of Duck (Was Almost Extinct But Now Numbers Have Risen To Around 500)