Beyond the History: The Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
As you make your way through the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, it’s easy to forget that surrounding this slice of American history is an ecological wonder that’s home to some of the world’s most striking flora and fauna. With each year that passes, we continue to encroach upon territory that Mother Nature once had complete control over, and these plants' and animals' homes become more and more threatened.
While the naval base at Pearl Harbor is vital to the safety of the country, its presence has proven detrimental to the surrounding wildlife, which explains the creation of the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. The wetlands surrounding Pearl Harbor were under constant threat of being eradicated, but the wildlife refuge, overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will continue to protect the natural wonders that call this small slice of the island paradise home.
Pearl Harbor’s Endangered
Much of the wildlife inhabiting the areas around Pearl Harbor faces extinction and requires dedicated efforts to avoid being wiped off the map completely. This is the reason that the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge was instituted.
When visiting the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, be sure to respect the area around you not just for the sailors who died on December 7th, 1941, but also for the creatures that call the area home. Trash should never be thrown into the harbor and should be disposed of in the receptacles found throughout Pearl Harbor.
Remember that the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is home to beautiful creatures of nature that know no other ecosystem. Protected within the refuge, just feet away from the naval base, are the pink-legged Ae’o, the ‘Alae ke’oke’o, the Koloa maoli, and the ‘Alae ‘ula. As you approach Pearl Harbor, you may hear these magnificent birds calling out and singing their songs, adding to the feeling of hope one gets by walking through the memorials, exhibits, and museums found within Pearl Harbor.
Though they make no noise and the smells of the naval base would overpower any natural scent they may have, it’s also important not to forget the plant life that helps make the wetlands the natural wonder that they are. The ‘Ewa hinahina and ‘Akoko are two common plants found in the wildlife refuge, each growing to approximately 6- to 8-feet tall and adding some height and beauty to the look of the refuge.
As you’re exploring Pearl Harbor, remember and respect the natural history that was here long before the military moved in and long before a faraway nation flew in and launched a war with the United States of America.