Hawaii's role as a hub for travel, commerce, and military transport is a major contributor to its vulnerability to invasive species incursions. Ports of entry, airports, and seaports, besides being important invasive species pathways are also sites that present the first opportunity for early detection and rapid response. Mamalu Poepoe is an interagency program to enhance invasive species detection at Hawaii's main airports. The program brings together multiple state agencies including the Hawaii Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, Health, Land and Natural Resources, and the University of Hawaii. The program also collaborates with several projects under the University of Hawaii system such as the Hawaii Ant Lab and the Invasive Species Committees statewide. Priority target species in the program include: mosquitoes, the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB: Oryctes rhinoceros Linnaeus), Africanized honeybees (AHB: Apis mellifera scutellate Lepeletier), and invasive ants. Mamalu Poepoe fills an important gap in surveillance at Hawaii's airports and enhances the state's ability for early detection and rapid response of species that can severely affect human health, our environment, and the economy through collaborative efforts.
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