The efforts of ‘Champions’

HANAPEPE — Andre Raine and his team at the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project work in some pretty harsh conditions.

People have noticed.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recognized eight individuals in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii on Friday for their exceptional efforts in conservation and recovery — and seven of the eight came from Raine’s team.

Thomas Kaiakapu, wildlife manager for Kauai’s branch of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said this is the first time the 2015 “Species Recovery Champions” award has made it to Kauai.

“It’s an honor to be given this award,” said Raine, coordinator of KESRP. “We work collaboratively with many organizations in this project for our endangered birds and it’s really nice to get recognition.”

Kaiakapu said the award was earned.

“This project has been going on since 2005 and Andre took over in 2010. Since that time the project has expanded,” Kaiakapu said. “It takes a lot of energy, working in remote and dangerous conditions because of the steep cliffs. I’m happy Andre and his team are representing Kauai.”

Raine said he has always been interested in conservation and that he has found a way to make a difference in the world.

“Sometimes it’s rugged terrain, rough camping, and rough conditions, but it’s really great when we get all that information and data,” Raine said. “I have a great team.”

Kaiakapu said he’s certain the project wouldn’t be as far along as it is today without Raine and his team.

The KESRP focuses mainly on conservation and recovery of the three endangered seabirds found on Kauai, the Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Petrel, and the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel.

Raine said the award is also a motivator.

“We’ve got this one under our belt, and we’ll keep doing better,” he said. “We’re just at the start of the season, so things are getting busy for us.”

The other recipient of the award was Washington State’s Paul Meyers, who works with the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.

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