State briefs for March 14

Hawaii refuge provides new home for Albatross chicks

LIHUE, Kauai — A wildlife refuge on Oahu is providing a new home for endangered albatross chicks.

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Researchers recently moved 25 chicks to the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu from their birthplace on the Midway Atoll 1,300 miles away.

Conservationists say moving the chicks will help foster new colonies on Oahu and contribute to a growing population.

The black-footed chicks will be fed fish and squid and closely monitored by biologists for four to five months until they are able to fly out to sea and feed themselves.

“As conservation managers, it is important we use good science to evaluate other options that might protect these seabirds into the future,” said Bob Peyton, Midway Atoll Refuge and Memorial Project leader. “Refuges like Midway Atoll and James Campbell provide the healthy habitat that black-footed albatross, and other seabirds, need to thrive.”

The black-footed albatross is one of three albatross species seen regularly in the north Pacific, according to the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project.

But the black-footed variety is listed as endangered due to threats such as longline fishing and plastic waste consumption.

The nonprofit group Pacific Rim Conservation and its partners moved 40 black-footed albatross chicks from Midway and Tern Island, Hawaii, to the Campbell refuge in 2017 and 2018.

The Campbell refuge’s elevation lowers the risk from rising sea-levels and storm surges. A fence ensures protection from predators such as mongooses, rats, and feral cats and dogs.

Moderate earthquake shakes Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano

VOLCANO — The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-5.5 earthquake has hit the southern flank of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

The agnecy reports light to moderate shaking was felt across the Big Island and Maui early Wednesday morning.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanos.

It has been quiet for months after an eruption that began last May destroyed more than 700 homes.

The geological survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the quake had “no apparent effect” on Kilauea volcanic activity.

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The earthquake was centered about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) southeast of Kilauea’s summit and was about 4 miles (7 kilometers) deep.

The geological survey says Kilauea’s south flank has had 16 earthquakes of at least magnitude-5.0 over the past 40 years.

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