East Hawaii News

DLNR Plans Animal Control Activities

January 25, 2016, 3:46 PM HST
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Feral sheep like the one shown above, and feral-mouflon hybrids, are the targets of an eradication effort designed to protect the habitat of the endangered palila. NPS file photo.

Feral sheep like the one shown above, and feral/mouflon hybrids, are the targets of an eradication effort designed to protect the habitat of the endangered palila. NPS file photo.

Animal control activities will be conducted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife on four separate occasions over the next four months.

The activities are conducted to trap mouflon/feral sheep hybrids; staff hunting; and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, and the Ka’ohe Game Management Area.

DLNR officials say aerial shooting is a requirement for the compliance of federal court orders that mandate the removal of sheep and goats from habitat deemed critical for the palila, an endemic bird to Hawai’i.

Dates slated for the control are Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, as well as May 4 and May 5.

On May 3, no closure will take place as DOFAW will be collaring animals.

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During the scheduled control periods, public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, the Ka‘ohe Game Management Area, and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed by permit only for public animal salvage purposes on the same days as the control.

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A closure of the area is necessary to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area; as well as to safely conduct the activities.

As part of the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked on Feb. 9 and May. 3 at 7 p.m., and will be reopened at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 and May 5, respectively.

DLNR notes that the actions are pursuant to HAR§ 13-130-19 and § 13-104-23(a) (3).

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The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hawai‘i island offices.

Those interested in salvage permits should call the DOFAW Kamuela office between at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call, per vehicle for one day only.

Applicants can have their names added to a stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed access. The driver, occupants, vehicle license plate, and make/model of vehicle are needed when calling in.

A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will each be allowed at the Ahumoa location and the Pu‘u Mali location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage (4-wheel drive vehicle are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

Salvage locations on Feb. 10 and May 4 are at Ahumoa. Permitees must meet at Kilohana hunter check-in station at 7 a.m.

On Feb. 11 and May 5, the salvage location is at Pu’u Mali. Permittees will meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo by calling 974-4221 or in Kamuela at 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

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