Environmental Research on Processes & Impacts

In: Other Topics

Submitted By archiejohnyu
Words 769
Pages 4
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 which it has come to live. Unfortunately, each of these endemic species is especially susceptible to the effects of invasive species, which means the impact on Hawaii’s animal life has been tremendous.

When goats were first introduced to Hawaii by Captain Cook in the late 1700s, they immediately began eating all the local plant life. Most of these plants were unused to being preyed upon until the introduction of foreign species into their habitat, and so suffered massive population loss from grazing animals. The goat population, on the other hand, grew rapidly, as it had no natural predators to keep it in check. The introduction of European pigs to Hawaii had similar effects on the native species, although, due to a scarcity of protein in natural Hawaiian forests, the European pig population did not grow as rapidly as the goats until the 1900s with the introduction of earthworms and foreign plants which made up large portions of the pigs' diets (Stone and Loope 1987).

European pigs and goats are both primarily grazing animals, meaning their diet consists mostly of plant life found near the ground. Rats, mice, and mongooses, however, are easily able to reach…...

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