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Akohekohe

The akohekohe (Say it: uh-KOH-hee-KOH) currently survives only on Maui, but also lived on the eastern side of the island of Molokaʻi until 1907. This bird was common on both islands at the start of the 20th century. It was thought to be extinct after that—however, in 1945 a small population was discovered in the National Area Reserve on Halakea in Maui. Over the course of the millennia, the population has decreased. The first inhabitants, the Polynesians, deforested much of the islands to create farmland, which destroyed a large amount of the birds' habitat. When the Europeans arrived, the land and the animals dependent on it decreased further. The Europeans brought with them three species of rats. The rats attacked the eggs, chicks, and adults of many bird species. They also ate the birds' food sources. Another factor that lead to the decline of the ʻakohekohe was its unusual appearance, which made it very desirable to collectors. Later, in the 1900s, mosquitoes were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands and inflicted deadly diseases on the birds, which lacked resistance to the pathogens. Finally, humans released invasive birds which competed with the native birds for food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young.

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