As the top botanist at Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), Perlman deals exclusively in plants with 50 or fewer individuals left—in many cases, much fewer, maybe two or three. Of the 238 species currently on that list, 82 are on Kauai; Perlman literally hangs off cliffs and jumps from helicopters to reach them.
Without him, rare Hawaiian plants die out forever. With him, they at least have a shot. Though now, due to forces beyond Perlman’s control, even that slim hope of survival is in jeopardy. Looming budget cuts threaten to make this the final chapter not only in the history of many native Hawaiian species, but in the program designed to keep them alive.
The video below follows another botanist in Hawaii