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Hawaiʻi's Animals and Wildlife

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The Hawaiian Islands are probably best known for spectacular scenery and wonderful climate. But ever since they emerged above the sea as volcanic mountaintops, they have provided a home for a unique and constantly changing community of wildlife. First to arrive were seabirds and sea turtles that found the young predator-free islands ideal places to lay their eggs. Over time, as plants and land animals arrived from across vast expanses of ocean, unique natural communities developed. In this near isolation, colonizers evolved into unique new species. Of course, birds dominated the scene, but two mammals, a seal and a bat, also managed to find the islands. As younger islands matured one after the other, each developed its own natural community. These primeval edens evolved slowly for five million years until the arrival of Polynesian settlers from islands to the south around 1,200 years ago.

Text and photographs by H. Douglas Pratt with additional photos by Tom Dove, Michael Walther, Brooks Rownd, David Fleetham, and others

  • Paperback: 88 pages