James T. Morrison R(S)
Discovering the Big Island's Hidden Gems: Wildlife and Flora
The Big Island of Hawaii is a place of stunning natural beauty, offering visitors a chance to explore lush rainforests, rugged volcanic landscapes, and pristine beaches. But for those who take the time to look a little deeper, there are also many hidden gems to be found, including a wealth of unique and fascinating wildlife and flora.
One of the most notable aspects of the Big Island's wildlife is the presence of many endangered species, many of which can only be found on this island. The most famous of these is the Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered marine mammal that is found only in Hawaii. These seals can be spotted lounging on the beaches or swimming in the waters off the coast, and are an incredible sight to behold.
Another endangered species that can be found on the Big Island is the Hawaiian nene goose, which is the state bird of Hawaii. These geese are found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and high-elevation forests, and are known for their distinctive black head and long neck. They are also considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity, making them a popular subject for Hawaiian art and culture.
In addition to these endangered species, the Big Island is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife, including many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Some of the most notable examples include the Hawaiian hoary bat, the green sea turtle, and the Hawaiian mongoose.
The Big Island is also a great place to explore the unique flora of Hawaii. The island is home to many endemic plant species that can't be found anywhere else in the world. One of the most famous of these is the silversword, a type of sunflower that is only found in the high-elevation volcanic deserts of the Big Island. These plants are known for their distinctive silver-colored leaves and large, showy flowers, which bloom only once in their lifetime.
Another unique plant species that can be found on the Big Island is the ōhia lehua tree, which is the state tree of Hawaii. These trees are found in a variety of habitats, including rainforests and dry forests, and are known for their bright red or orange flowers. They are also considered sacred by many Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and are often used in traditional ceremonies and rituals.
In addition to these unique plant species, the Big Island is also home to many other types of flora, including a wide variety of tropical fruits and vegetables, as well as many different types of flowers. Some of the most notable examples include the papaya, the pineapple, and the orchid.
Overall, the Big Island of Hawaii is a place of incredible natural beauty and diversity, offering visitors a chance to explore a wide variety of unique and fascinating wildlife and flora. Whether you're an experienced naturalist or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the Big Island is sure to offer something that will capture your imagination and leave you with lasting memories.
So next time you are planning a trip to the Big Island, take some time to explore beyond the beaten path and discover the hidden gems of the island's wildlife and flora. You may be surprised at just how much this beautiful island has to offer.