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How The Environment Started Essay

769 words - 4 pages

The introduction of foreign species to Hawaii has greatly affected the populations of the islands’ native species. In many cases, the introduction of foreign species has wiped out the entire population of certain species, rendering them extinct. This is especially devastating because many of these species are endemic, meaning they are found only in one particular location and nowhere else in the world. The majority of species living in Hawaii are the result of thousands of years of island biodiversity. A few birds of one species migrate from some distant island due to some rare occurrence of nature and eventually evolve into several new species, each perfectly adapted to the environment in ...view middle of the document...

Mongooses were first introduced to Maui in the 1880s to prey upon rats in sugarcane fields and quickly extended their range to include almost every hospitable nook in the island. They feed on most plants and animals smaller than them, including lizards, insects, crabs, rodents, small birds, and especially eggs (Stone and Loope 1987). This large prey base of exotic species has allowed the mongoose population to increase in density and range, as well as enabling it to rapidly gain stability while expanding into new areas (Vitousek et al. 1987). Mongooses spread rapidly across the island of Maui, occupying space and devastating the populations of any native species in their territory. There has been much debate over whether or not the mongooses are a limiting factor on the native bird species of Hawaii, particularly the ground-nesting species, since they will often eat eggs and even gosling birds (Stone and Loope 1987).
        Humans are not only indirectly responsible for the reduction and extinction of native Hawaiian species through the introduction of invasive species, but are also sometimes the direct cause. The Townsend's shearwater, one of the handful of surviving Hawaiian seabirds, are greatly affected by the light pollution from both urban and resort locations in Hawaii. These birds, whose breeding colonies were undiscovered until the late 1960s, are...

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