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Ulupa'u Crater - Wildlife Management Area

The Ulupa’u Crater WMA is located at the northeastern corner of the Base in the heart of the Base’s Range Training Facility. The WMA consists of invasive grasses, trees and shrubs covering 25 acres. Ulupa’u Crater WMA is home to one of two breeding colonies of Red-footed Boobies (Sula sula rubripes) in the main Hawaiian islands – the other is located on Kauai’s Kilauea Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Refuge division. The WMA supports approximately 2500 – 3000 Boobies.

The cliff face below the training range is one of the pacific’s oldest fossil bird bone sites. Numerous bird species, including bones of an extinct 6-ft flightless bird, were discovered in soil that eroded off the cliff face. The recovered bone fossils are now on display in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History.  

Red Footed Booby.  Red Footed Booby.  Red Footed Boobies.

Dangers & Restrictions

Dangers: Even though the Environmental Department’s Natural Resources managers access the WMA to perform management objectives, most activities conducted in the WMA requires coordination with the Operations and Training Directorate, Range control and on-site EOD and corpsman support. Tours of the Booby colony are very restrictive, infrequent and requires working around the Range’s training schedule.

Restrictions: Access to Ulupa’u Crater WMA is strictly controlled because it is wedged in between active weapons training ranges - the area surrounding the WMA has unexploded ordnance (UXO). The Red-footed Booby colony located in the WMA is protected by State laws and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The act imposes severe civil and criminal penalties for committing a “take” against a migratory species. Unlike the Endangered Species Act, the MBTA only protects the bird and any parts there of, e.g. feathers, bones, nests, eggs, etc - not it’s habitat.

Take (as defined in 50 CFR 10.12) means to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, harass, capture, or collect, or attempt to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such act.