New efforts to keep wildlife in Hawaii native
Illegal transport of axis deer in 2009 prompts changes
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is trying to create rules against transporting and releasing introduced wildlife in Hawaii.
"It may be by accident (or) they may not know that transport, release, or movement of wildlife is harmful to our native ecosystem. This proposed amendment could serve as an educational tool," said Lauren Goodmiller with DLNR.
A Maui helicopter pilot who illegally transported axis deer to the Big Island in 2009, prompted the new changes. Prosecutors said Thomas Hauptman flew four axis deer to the Big Island to establish a deer population there for hunters. He was punished at the federal level, but at the time, there was no state law against his actions. Now, the DLNR wants Hawaii to have its own law.
"We want to make sure we have the law behind us and we are able to enforce that," said Jason Misaki with DLNR.
The department said the new rules are needed right away because introduced species, especially those proven to be detrimental to Hawaii such as mongoose, coqui frogs, and fire ants do harm to our natural resources.
"A mongoose in a seabird colony is really bad. They can predate directly on chicks and predate directly on eggs," said Misaki.
At Thursday's public hearing many Manoa residents agreed.
"The birds that have been showing up have been quiet destructive to not only the vegetation and fruit in the valley but also the native birds too," said Manoa resident Brent Wilson.
The next public hearing will be held on Kauai. Then the DLNR will present the proposed rule changes and testimonies to the board of Land and Natural Resources.
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