East Hawaii News

State Announces Ungulate Control, Carcass Salvage Dates

July 5, 2013, 6:30 PM HST
* Updated July 5, 6:31 PM
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The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has announced the dates for the conducting of eradication of sheep and goats on Mauna Kea as part of the court-ordered protection of the palila bird.

The control efforts could involve a combination of methods, including trapping, staff hunting and shooting from helicopters, the DLNR said.

The program will be carried out on July 15-16, Aug. 28-29, and Sept. 3-6.

The targets will be mouflon sheep, feral sheep, mouflon-feral sheep hybrids and feral goats.

During the eradication program, a variety of hunting areas will be off-limits to the public except for those who have obtained permits to salvage the carcasses of the animals targeted by the state.

A total of 15 permits will be issued at the Puu Koohi location and 10 will be made available for the Kaluamakani area.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles are required for the permitted salvage efforts, and there is no guarantee that the meat will be salvageable, a DLNR statement said.

Those seeking permits for the first control dates can call the DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Waimea at (808) 887-6063 from 9 a.m. on July 10 until 10 a.m. on July 14. The names of the driver and occupants, the vehicle’s license number and make and model must be provided at the time of calling.

The salvage locations, which are subject to change, are at Puu Koohi on Sept. 3 and 5 and Kaluamakani on July 16, Aug. 28-29 and Sept. 4 and 6.

Permittees for the Puu Koohi location must meet at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. Those salvaging at Kaluamakani are to meet at the Waimea Veterinary Office on Mana Road at 6 a.m.

For additional details contact DOFAW at the Waimea office or at (808) 974-4221 in Hilo.

The control efforts are the result of a 1978 federal court order to reduce the population of ungulates which were eating new shoots of the mamane tree, which is critical to the survival of the endangered palila. The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed by environmentalists.

The aerial shooting was also the subject of a ban approved by the Hawaii County Council in June 2012.

The ban was supported by hunters who argued that removal of too many ungulates would allow the spread of grasses which increased the chance of wildfires which in turn threaten the palila population.

They also criticized the past practice of leaving carcasses on the mountain to rot as wasteful.

However, in April a federal judge said that the 1978 ruling takes precedence over the county ordinance and ruled that aerial shooting to protect the palila could continue.

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