Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge


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Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge in Kauai was established in 1985 by transferring the land from the the US Coast Guard which operated the lighthouse on Kīlauea Point. Its mission is to protect seabird nesting colonies. The refuge was expanded to Mōkōlea Point in 1988 and now encompasses 203 acres.


The signs on the refuge highlight six birds: The Great Frigatebird, Red and White Tailed Tropicbirds, Laysan Albatross, Red-Footed Booby, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and the Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē.)


There were hundreds of birds everywhere we looked. We saw the Tropicbirds dancing over the little island just north of the point and captured a Booby carrying branches back to its nest.


The Nēnē is Hawaii’s state bird and is endangered. They evolved from the larger (and nastier) Canada Goose about 500,000 years ago. They disappeared from Kauai a century ago, but were reintroduced through the wildlife refuge in 1990. We saw them running all over the lawn by the lighthouse.


The Wildlife Refuge has worked to restore the natural flora by removing alien species and reintroducing native plants. They rely on a large volunteer corp of about 150 to maintain the refuge.


Kauai Posts:

  • Wailua Falls
  • Lihue Plantation Hanama‘ulu Ditch
  • ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls
  • Wailua River State Park
  • Mount Waiʻaleʻale
  • Fuji Beach
  • Moloa’a Beach
  • Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Kīlauea Lighthouse
  • Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wai’oli Hui’ia Church
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Red Dirt Falls
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon Lookout
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waipo’o Falls
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Kalalau Lookout
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Pu’u O Kila Lookout
  • Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park
  • Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Spouting Horn
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Keoneloa Bay
  • Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park



Location: 3580 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754

Designation: National Wildlife Refuge

Date designated/established: 1985

Date of my visit: April 18, 2019


22 thoughts on “Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Thanks for sharing! It’s wonderful to see wildlife in Hawai’i. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the islands again, but if I do this will be one of my stops!

  2. We were also thrilled to see wild Nēnē when we visited Hawaii a few years ago. I’m delighted to say that its survival as a species was down to a remarkable British conservationist, Sir Peter Scott. Birds rescued from Hawaii were bred in captivity at UK conservation centres, and their descendants used to repopulate sites in Hawaii. You can read a little bit more about the story here: https://www.wwt.org.uk/news/2019/10/18/how-sir-peter-scott-saved-the-nene-goose-using-conservation-techniques-we-still-use-today/17827
    One of the lessons I take from this remarkable tale is that successful conservation is often an international endeavour.

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