Wildlife experts worry about recent shootings of Hawaiian hawks

It’s being deemed a rare occurrence that two Hawaiian hawks were found injured in the same year on Hawaii island.

One hawk was found March 20 and the other April 27.

Both found with suspected wounds from a bb gun.

“The first time it was very disconcerting that one was injured that way because you have to think that’s its an endangered bird it’s a protected bird. When you get two of them that raises flags it makes us begin to try and look at the reason that someone might be doing it” Three Ring Ranch owner Ann Goody said.

Goody believes the hawks were injured by farmers who shot at the birds after possible attacks on their chickens.

“The suspected pellet went through the wrist broke a couple of bones and it went into the chest,” Goody said.

Goody has helped in the rehabilitation of both birds at her Three Ring Ranch in Kona.

One has already been released back into the wild.

The other hawk is set to be released on Memorial day.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources are both looking into the case.

“People are coming forward right now but all of that is confidential because we’re still in the investigative stage,” DLNR director William Aila said.

The DLNR says there are between 1,500 and 2,000 Hawaiian hawks on Hawaii island.

“These animals have evolved and developed in Hawaii to fill a nitch in the ecosystem any time that we lose one of these important animals it endangers the entire ecosystem. People need to be very very careful if they’re hunting, people need to understand that they are threatening an endangered species including the hawks in Hawaii, and that they’re protected and that we will prosecute any violations of the law,” Aila said.

Hurting a Hawaiian hawk in any way is against the law punishable to a year in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

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