What’s New At The Honolulu Zoo

Kamehameha butterflies

Successful breeding and release of Kamehameha butterflies.

The Honolulu Zoo partners with the Hawaii Invertebrate Program in the Conservation of Native Endemic Invertebrates

The Hawaii Invertebrate Program is within the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DFW).  The goal of the program is to recover populations of rare endemic arthropods and snails through captive rearing, reintroductions, and translocations.

On Monday November 20 the Honolulu Zoo opened up a Kamehameha butterfly exhibit and native endemic invertebrate breeding lab within the new Ectotherm Complex in collaboration with the Hawaii Invertebrate Program with DLNR/DFW.

The program and partnership has proven to be quite successful in the propagation of some of Hawaii’s native endemic invertebrates including the Kamehameha butterfly.  The Kamehameha butterfly was once common in the Tantalus area, but hasn’t been seen there for over 20 years.

On Sunday December 17 and Monday December 18 staff from the Honolulu Zoo and the Hawaii Invertebrate Program DLNR/DFW released Kamehameha butterflies from their lab and Kamehameha caterpillars hatched at the zoo.  The release site was at Manoa Cliff in the Tantulus area.

Over the past 12 years, volunteers with the Manoa Cliff Restoration Project have been outplanting native plants, including mamaki and other host plants for the butterfly. Our hope is that this restored forest will provide a suitable habitat for the butterfly.

The lead coordinator in the Manoa Cliff Restoration Project is Honolulu Zoo horticulturist, Sebastian Marquez.  The Honolulu Zoo’s Aloha Aina Conservation Fund has been a longtime supporter of the Manoa Cliff Restoration Project.

The names of staff that were there for the releases are:

Dr. Will Haines PhD, Hawaii Invertebrate Program, DLNR/DFW….Butterfly release video

Laura Debnar, Curator/Conservation Chair, Honolulu Zoo….Butterfly release video

Katrina Scheiner, Hawaii Invertebrate Program, DLNR/DFW…..Caterpillar release

Layla Rohde, Hawaii Invertebrate Program, DLNR/DFW…..Caterpillar release

Sebastian Marquez, Horticulturist, Honolulu Zoo, Manoa Cliff Restoration Project

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