Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters threatened by new LED street lighting on Maui

The replacement of approximately 4800 street lights on the Hawaiian island of Maui with LED (light-emitting diode) fixtures will threaten to kill or injure Endangered Hawaiian Petrels Pterodroma sandwichensis and Critically Endangered Newell’s Shearwaters Puffinus newelli according to environmental NGOs.

Newell's Shearwater, photograph by Lindsay Young

“Seabirds like the endangered Hawaiian petrel and the threatened Newell’s shearwater can be attracted to and disoriented by bright lights, circling them until they fall to the ground from exhaustion or crash into nearby buildings. Once on the ground, the seabirds are vulnerable to getting run over by cars and predation by pets and feral animals.”

Hawaiian NGOs brought a legal case in February to halt the street light refitting, warning that LEDs with a high blue light content can harm seabirds, proposing the use of LED bulbs that filter out blue light.

Read more here and here.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 01 April 2019