East Hawaii News

Protecting Native Habitats: Two Talk Story Sessions Slated for Rodent, Mongoose Control 

February 19, 2016, 4:02 PM HST
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Native Iwi bird. File photo by Jack Jeffrey.

Native Iwi bird. File photo by Jack Jeffrey.

A series of talk story sessions are scheduled around the state in March for a discussion on methods of control and eradication of invasive rodents and mongooses in order to protect native species in Hawai’i.

The sessions will be held by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The agencies are co-leads in developing a draft programmatic environmental impact statement, which will analyze the impacts of and alternatives to controlling these invasive animals for the protection of native wildlife, plants, and habitats that support them.

“Introduced rodents and mongooses in Hawai’i pose a significant threat to many of Hawai’i’s native plants and animals,” said Suzanne Case, Chairperson of the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. “It is important that we have a discussion with a wide variety of interested people so we can comprehensively address the damage these rodents and mongoose have on Hawaii’s ecology, culture, and way of life.”

Big Island talk story sessions will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 14 at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s College of Tropical Agriculture, and on Tuesday, March 15 at the West Hawai’i Community Center in Kailua-Kona.

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“We really want to hear what communities would like us to consider in this analysis, including what methods should be considered and what are some alternatives,” said Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Methods to control rodents and mongooses in urban and agricultural areas currently exist, but those tools and methods aren’t always effective or available for use in conservation areas. This process will look at rodent and mongoose control efforts worldwide, and document the most appropriate ones that could be used in Hawai’i.”

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The public is also invited to submit written comments through April 7. The comments can be made to either agency for joint consideration online, following instruction for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2015-0026, or via postal mail to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-2015-0026; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services; MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Following the comment period, both agencies will review the comments and begin development of the document.

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