Kāhuli | 11.7 x 16.5 Poster
11.7" x 16.5" Poster | Designed in Hawai'i | Made in Hawai'i
Kāhuli Leo Le‘a
A clear and distinct sound, a voice from the forest welcoming the new day, kāhuli leo leʻa were an integral part of our ancestral soundscape. They are highlighted in hundreds of mele composed well before the living generations inherited this earth. The jewels of our habitats, kāhuli were once strung into lei and worn proudly as a thing of beauty. Sadly, these kūpuna now face imminent peril. Dave Sischo, head of Hawaiʻi’s SEPP (Snail Extinction Prevention Program), summarized the situation: “Hawaiʻi had an incredible land snail radiation. We had over 750 species in 13 different families from coastal strand ma kai all the way up to some of the highest uka areas. The islands were dripping in snails. About half of those are extinct already and we have about 100 species that we think are vulnerable to extinction right now. Within this decade they could all be gone.” Habitat destruction and introduced predators (Euglandina spp.) plus climate change make survival a major challenge for these beautiful members of our non-kanaka ʻohana. That is why Kealopiko has chosen SEPP as our hoa Makamaka for 2023, the year of the kāhuli. They currently mālama 40 species of kāhuli (tree and ground snails) in filed and lab sites. If better funded, they could expand their efforts to include more critically endangered species. Kāhuli not only have huge cultural value, they play critical roles in native ecosystems where they help to clean plants and cycle nutrients. We only have a decade to make sure kāhuli stay around for the coming generations. To learn more and donate visit: https://dlnr.hawaii.