Shortly after Annexation, American ornithologists, naval officers and administrators began a campaign to repel Japanese “bird pirates” from Hawaii’s desert islands. The campaign was waged at a number of levels: through the law courts, diplomatic channels between Washington and Tokyo, and direct interdiction of bird hunters by the U.S. naval and customs vessels. The campaigners were motivated by a number of things: concern for the welfare of the birds themselves, but also racial angst about Japanese transPacific migration, as well as the desire to defend American sovereignty over islands that might have value as telegraph cable landing stations. The campaign culminated with President Theodore Roosevelt’s executive order establishing the Hawaiian Islands Reservation, after which American naturalists set about transforming Hawaii’s desert islands from sites of commodity extraction to uninhabited (but still sovereign) wilderness. Today these islands form the nucleus of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which with an area of 583,000 square miles constitutes the world’s third largest nature reserve.