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Poison Experiment at Pōhakuloa Training Area

January 9, 2017, 12:04 PM HST
* Updated January 9, 12:08 PM
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Pohakuloa Training Area. U.S. Department of Defense photo.

Sydney Ross Singer, an environmental anthropologist and director of the Good Shepherd Foundation in Pāhoa, stated in a recent press release that he and his organization became aware last year of what he called “controversial government plans to use extremely toxic rodenticides to eradicate rodents and mongooses from wilderness areas throughout Hawai‘i.”

He said that USDA Wildlife Services is now asking the EPA for a permit to test the poison chlorophacinone at Pōhakuloa Training Area to see how well it kills mice… “and to see what else it kills.”

Singer said the comment period for this Experimental Use Permit ends Jan. 17, but the Wildlife Services is not making the details of their permit available without a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which won’t be processed until after the comment period ends.

“Even without details, PTA is the wrong place for this experiment,” said Singer.

“Fifteen bird species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are found at PTA, along with the endangered Hawaiian petrel, Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian hawk and the Hawaiian goose,” said Singer. “Game birds, pigs, sheep and goats are at PTA. All are threatened by this poison.”


Insects are threatened, too, Singer continued.


“The endangered yellow-faced bees and Cydia mamane codling moths are at PTA,” Singer said. “These moths are required for the survival of the endangered palila bird, which must feed on the larvae of the moths.”

How plants and insects react to the poison is unknown, said Singer.

“It is extremely toxic to birds and mammals, causing internal bleeding,” said Singer. “It is a painful, drawn-out death, not only to rodents and other animals who directly eat it, but also to anything that eats poisoned prey. Hunters may get poisoned game.”


Beneath PTA is newly discovered pristine groundwater and chlorophacinone is a known water contaminant, said Singer.

After the poisoning, more rodents will move back in, so more poison will be needed, he said.

“Rodents can be a problem, but testing poisons at PTA is not the answer,” said Singer.

To comment on this poisoning, go to NoPoisonHawaii.org.

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