Categorized | Environment

Kahele on the threat of Axis deer

Sen. Gilbert Kahele has released the following statement:

Recently, it seems that there has been a spate of news headlines about invasive species with snakes, horned lizards, and flying squirrels.

While I do want to prevent these exotic animals from making their homes here in Hawaii, I want to draw some attention to another animal that is already here in Hawaii, and could pose a threat to our home here on the Big Island.

Axis deer have established populations on the islands of Lanai, Molokai and Maui. Most recently, a Maui reporter wrote an article in August entitled, “D’oh! A Deer,” that highlighted the devastating effects that axis deer has had on the people of Maui.

With a voracious appetite, the deer are not picky when it comes to food. From pineapple to sugar cane to vegetables in local gardens, the deer does not discriminate in its diet. Their foraging also creates problems for ranchers as the deer can wipe out large grassy fields that their herds use as grazing areas.

Add to this the fact that the deer’s feces can carry diseases that can be passed on to people and it becomes clear that axis deer is a serious problem.

What would a population of axis deer mean for the Big Island? Coffee and macadamia nut farms have been longstanding industries for the Big Island, with our burgeoning Ka‘u coffee industry beginning to receive international attention.

The demand for ono local beef from our ranches in Ka‘u, Waimea, and other parts of the Big Island has grown as people heed the call to eat local.

Also, our nurseries and beautiful anthurium farms – imagine the ravaging effects a herd of axis deer could have on these industries.

As outlined in a Honolulu Star Advertiser article on May 28, 2011 and based on the best evidence I have available to me, I believe that axis deer may be making its way to the Big Island.

Knowing the negative impacts that will occur to the environment and our local industry, I am doing everything in my power to prevent this animal from establishing itself on the Big Island.

By working with the state Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the state Department of the Attorney General, and the governor, I am hoping to nip this problem in the bud.

I am working with DLNR to change HawaiiAdministrative Rule 13-124 to designate axis deer as an injurious species to ensure that its possession and potential transport between islands is regulated.

This is meant as an interim step to limit any transport of axis deer to the Big Island until the upcoming 2012 Legislative Session where I plan to introduce legislation meant to more permanently address this issue.

I cannot stress how vital I believe this issue is to the health of our local economy and ecosystem. I will continue to push for awareness on this issue, knowing that with early action we can protect our home, the Big Island.

One Response to “Kahele on the threat of Axis deer”

  1. MOSES says:

    i think alot of the comments in sen kahele post are incorrect, first axis deer are very picky eaters they (do not!!!) eat just anything dry grass,kiawe beans,ti leaves,secondly has anyone done a study on the axis deer in hawaii ever carrying any type of disease or their feces, i have been eating axis deer venison for the last ten years and have never ever had and instance or heard of an instance of any person or persons getting sick from eating axis deer venison!!as far as maui is concerned axis deer has become more recently an issue because of all the condos and building in wailea and makena and golf coarses.pigs and goats are more distructive then deer on are eco-system,hawaiians as well as long standing families in hawaii have been hunting and fishing these islands from as far as memory can remember.now we have people who create inaccurate horror stories to incense the public,these animals need to be studied and understood by people other then the ones sitting behind their desks,to make sound choices and decisions,many many island familys subsist off the land and axis deer,the approach needs to change,getting people who deal with these animals,having public forum to include all community intrest wether it be land owners,farmers,hunters ect

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