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Keōpuka Islet Seabird Sanctuary


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  • Directions

  • Lat/Lng

    20.87580, -156.17229
  • Size

    2.00 acres


Keōpuka is a long steep narrow islet about 2 acres in size and 120 ft. tall with a knifelike ridge running through the center, located off the coast of east Maui just west of Honomanū. Its heavily vegetated. Native plants include‘ūlei (Osteomeles anthyllidifolia) growing on the narrow ridge top, with two lama (Diospyros sandwicenis). A thick tangle of christmas berry (Schinus terebinthifolius), hala (Pandanus tectorius), lantana (Lantana camara and two young Port Jackson figs (Ficus cf. platypoda) battle for space. Scattered under the canopy are laua‘e (Phymatosorusgrossus). The sides of sheer slopes are slightly less vegetated and include naupaka (Scaevola taccada), native sedges (Cyperus phleoides and Carex wahuensis) and other species, such as makou (Peucedanum sandwicense) found closer to the upper portions of sheer walls and ‘ākulikuli (Sesuvium portulacastrum) closer to the lower wave worn sections. Numerous nest burrows show the islet is home to ‘ua‘u kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters, Puffinus pacificus) and native insects.

As with all state Seabird Islet Sanctuaries, visiting Keōpuka is prohibited. They are rare places where seabirds can nest with few or no predators and no large mammals (including humans) trampling and crushing the burrow where they raise their young. Turtles and seals can rest on their tiny shores without harassment and they are havens for native insects and plants without people constantly inadvertently bringing in weed seeds and other alien pests. Respect and admire these places through binoculars, peacefully, from shore.