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Endangered palila birds released on Mauna Kea in Hawaii

March 19, 2009 | 12:40 pm

Palila bird Seven palila birds, a highly endangered species, were released Wednesday on the northern slope of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

The birds were bred at the San Diego Zoo's Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the big island of Hawaii and taken to Pu'u Mali on Mauna Kea for release. It was the fourth release in six years of the birds with the yellow heads and green wings.

The palila was one of the first species put on the endangered list when the list was created in 1973. The road to recovery will be long, officials warn.

"Conservation is measured in steps, not miles," said Richard Switzer, conservation manager of the Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

-- Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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