Big Island Animal Control Activities Announced

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The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct wild animal control operations in August and September.

In order to protect critical habitat for the Palila, a forest bird found only on Hawai’i Island, DOFAW implements animal control activities to limit animal populations that may damage the endangered bird’s habitat. These activities include trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids; staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K), Palila Mitigation Lands, and the Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on Hawai‘i Island.

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with a federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from Palila’s critical habitats. Salvage opportunities are provided via a permit to allow for the collection of meat from controlled sheep and goats.

Control is scheduled for Aug. 18, 19, and 20, as well as Sept. 9 and 10, 2020. Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, the Kaohe Game Management Area, and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed by permit only for animal salvage purposes on those dates.


Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicles are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged. Salvage locations are subject to change:

  • Aug. 18, at Pu‘u Ahumoa. Permittees must meet at Kilohana check-in station at 7 a.m.
  • Aug. 19, at Pu‘u Mali. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m.
  • Aug. 20, at Pu‘u Ahumoa. Permittees must meet at Kilohana check-in station at 7 a.m.
  • Sept. 9, at Pu‘u Ahumoa. Permittees must meet at Kilohana check-in station at 7 a.m.
  • Sept. 10, at Pu‘u Mali. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m.

The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open. The temporary closure is needed to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pōhaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:

  • Locked 7 p.m. Aug. 17 and reopened 7 p.m. Aug. 20.
  • Locked 7 p.m. Sept. 8 and reopened 7 p.m. Sept. 10.

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the DOFAW Office.


Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Kamuela Office for receiving salvage permits will be conducted as follows for the August and September salvage dates, respectively:

  • From 9 a.m. Aug. 11 to 10 a.m. Aug. 17.
  • From 9 a.m. Sept. 2 to 10 a.m. Sept. 8.

One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only. The August and September salvage dates are permitted separately, meaning that a single applicant may be eligible to receive a permit on both an August date and a September date.

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 be allowed at the Pu‘u Ahumoa location and 15 permitted vehicles at the Pu‘u Mali location.


Additionally, information can be found by contacting DOFAW’s Hilo or Kamuela office. Legal notice is available on the DOFAW website.

  • DOFAW Hilo – (808) 974-4221
  • DOFAW Kamuela Office – (808) 887-6063

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