Hawaii: kiwikiu believed extinct again sighted!

According to the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, this small bird once inhabited the entire island of Maui and neighboring islands as well, but the presence of humans in its habitat has reduced the number of specimens of the species to 150

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Hawaii: kiwikiu believed extinct again sighted!

Hawaiian kiwikiu bird was believed extinct, but has been sighted again! According to the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, this small bird once inhabited the entire island of Maui and neighboring islands as well, but the presence of humans in its habitat has reduced the number of specimens of the species to 150, while in recent years it was believed to be practically extinct.

Two years ago the experts had tried a repopulation, with seven kiwikiu specimens that had been introduced in the Nakula Nature Reserve, but the relocation was not successful. Of the seven, five were killed by malaria, resulting from the increasingly warm climate.

After a year and a half with no more sightings of the other two specimens, experts had given them up for dead. On Facebook, experts said that the rediscovery of this bird is a miracle, as it offers little hope to save the species from extinction.

The bird would have contracted avian malaria, but would have survived it.

Two white orcas spotted off Japan

Off the coast of Japan's northern island, Hokkaido, two incalculable white killer whales have been sighted, a truly rare occurrence.

Killer whales were spotted on a July 24 whale watching tour in the Kunashirskiy Strait. The tour company who organize these observation tours, say it is the first time that you see the younger one. The white of their color is due to leucism, a genetic peculiarity due to a gene, recessive in most cases, which gives a white color to the fur or plumage of animals that normally have a different colored coat.

Whether it occurs partially or totally, leucism is a form of incomplete albinism; in fact the eyes maintain normal pigmentation, unlike the iris of individuals who show ocular albinism. Leucism is caused by the absence of tyrosinase, an enzyme necessary for the synthesis of melanin.

Leucistic animals are not overly photosensitive, like albinos. Indeed, it seems that they are slightly more resistant to heat than normal individuals, because the white color, having the maximum albedo, would allow the highest reflection of incident radiation, consequently reducing thermal absorption.