Kāhuli: Uncovering Indigenous Ecological Knowledge to Conserve Endangered Hawaiian Land Snails

<p>Indigenous knowledge is a multilayered knowledge system that can inform contemporary management in both natural observations and cultural value. Centuries old observations preserved within song, chant, and story has been globally recognized as a resource to integrate with conservation efforts for endangered species. In the case of the endemic land snails, kāhuli, of the Hawaiian archipelago, there is a prominent cultural presence preserved in oral tradition and written records in 19th and early 20th century’s Hawaiian language newspapers. As we witness the dramatic decimation of one of the greatest models of species radiation, the unveiling of the repositories of indigenous knowledge is crucial for conservation of these endemic land snails. This paper reports on indigenous knowledge that informs about the cultural significance (i.e., poetic device, metaphorical role, importance to hula) and ecology of kāhuli, and how indigenous knowledge can contribute to conservation efforts of rare and endangered species.</p>