An important win for some of Hawaii's rarest species: On Monday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized Endangered Species Act protections for 23 Oahu species and protected more than 42,000 acres of those species' most important habitats. The decision is the latest product of the Center for Biological Diversity's historic agreement last year to speed up protection decisions for 757 imperiled plants and animals around the country.
Twenty of the species in this week's decision are plants, including four identified as the "rarest of the rare," numbering fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild. The other three species are damselflies -- shiny-winged insects that metamorphose like butterflies -- and most of these species have been declining, and on the waiting list for protection, for years.