On Endangered Species Day: Open Letter to Judge Castagnetti

The Honorable Jeannette Castagnetti
First Circuit Court of Hawai‘i
Ka‘ahumanu Hale
777 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Judge Castagnetti:

Christian Gutierrez and the two juveniles involved in the massacre of Hawai‘i’s native Laysan albatross deserve to be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law.

Allow me to explain.

Read more

Politics Aside: We Must All Be Mothers of Nature

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
-Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead

Albatross DepartureLate last year, at the same time the Presidential election results shook the nation, the majestic Laysan albatross started returning to Kaua‘i. They dropped their spatula-like feet and touched land after months of knowing only air and wind and a wet, watery world. As of November 8th, six had returned to the colony I monitor, here to meet up with their partners and start the creation of another generation of majestic flyers. I knew a bit of history about five of them. I knew this because of the bands around their legs. Read more

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #12: Kilo’s Adventures Continue

I stood in the coffee aisle at Costco a few weeks ago with tears in my eyes. It wasn’t the price of coffee that made me cry. It was an email.

Ordinarily, I don’t read emails when I’m shopping, but I was on deadline for a story and waiting to hear from a source. That source—Dr. Michelle Barbieri who is the veterinarian with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program—just happened to be on a ship with limited Internet access that was plying the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and I’d set up phone alerts for Michelle’s emails. Read more

Are Hawaiian Monk Seals (Finally) Gaining Respect?

She’s not the prettiest seal. It’s neither the doe eyes nor the Buddha smile that draw you to her. It’s the scars.

I’ve always said 17-year-old K30 is the poster child of threats to monk seals. After the events of this week, now more so than ever. Read more