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Mosquito birth control project proposed to help save endangered native birds

University of Hawaii Mosquito Lab
DLNR
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The importation of “incompatible-male” mosquitoes to control populations of wild mosquitoes and to save native bird species from extinction does not involve the use of genetically modified or engineered organisms, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a statement.

A mosquito birth control project is a step closer to getting underway. But the idea of introducing millions of the critters is bugging some in the community. The idea is that mosquitos carrying certain bacteria may help save threatened and endangered birds — some of which may go extinct over the next few years. It may also reduce the mosquito population known to be carriers of dengue.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is looking at this type of mosquito control, which is new to Hawaiʻi. Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture gave the tentative nod to add three types of mosquitoes to the import list. The Conversation talked to DLNR’s Cynthia King, an entomologist with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, to learn more about the project.

There will be an opportunity for public input during the environmental review process later this year. This interview aired on The Conversation on July 13, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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