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DLNR Announces Mauna Kea Closures

October 19, 2016, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated October 13, 11:36 AM
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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.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife will conduct animal control activities through the end of the year.

The activities will include trapping feral sheep hybrids, staff hunting and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids within the palila’s (an endangered finch-billed bird) 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.

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for the endemic Palila bird.

Activities are scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26, Nov. 14 and 15 and Dec. 19 and 20.

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 with permit only animal salvage purposes on Oct. 25, Nov. 1, and Dec. 19, at 7 a.m. and at 6 a.m. on Oct. 26, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20.

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The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.

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The temporary closure will minimize the dangers in the forest area and will allow for animal control activities to be conducted safely.

To implement the closure Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked and reopened as follows:

  • Locked 7 p.m., Oct. 24
  • Reopened 7 p.m., Oct. 26
  • Locked 7 p.m., Nov. 13
  • Reopened 7 p.m., Nov. 15
  • Locked 7 p.m., Dec. 18
  • Reopened 7 p.m., Dec. 20

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office can provide maps illustrating the area subject to the aerial shooting.

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To receive salvage permits call the DOFAW Kamuela Office at (808) 887-6063 on Oct. 19 between 9 and 10 a.m. the day before each shooting 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 and model of vehicle are needed when calling.

A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed per location.

Carcasses will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations:

  • On Oct. 25, Nov. 14 and 19 at Pu‘u Ko‘ohi. Permittees must meet at Mauna Kea Recreation Area at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On Oct. 26, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, at Pu‘u Mali. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp.

Salvage locations are subject to change. There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

For more information on meat salvage or access permits, contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063.

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