Parts of Hawaii Island natural reserves to close for feral sheep, goat control activities

File photo from KHON2's archives

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids; staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids.

The activities will be held in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K), and the Ka‘ohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on Hawaii Island.

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.

Control schedules dates are Oct. 15 and 16, Nov. 16 and 17, and Dec. 14 and 15.

Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve from Waikahalulu gulch, north to Kemole, and east to Pu‘u Kole, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, the Ka‘ohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed by permit only for animal salvage purposes on the following dates:

  • 7 a.m. Oct. 15. Nov. 16, and Dec. 14
  • 6 a.m. Oct. 16, Nov. 17, and Dec. 15

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, the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/re-opened as follows:

  • Locked 8 p.m. Oct. 14 and reopened 7 p.m. Oct. 16
  • Locked 8 p.m. Nov.15 and reopened 7 p.m. Nov. 17
  • Locked 8 p.m. Dec.13 and reopened 7 p.m. Dec. 15

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Offices.

Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the Forestry and Wildlife Kamuela office at (808) 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9-10 a.m. the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only. 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 Ahumoa location and a maximum of 10 permits will be allowed at the Pu‘u Mali location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicle 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:

  • On Oct. 15, Nov. 16, and Dec. 14 at Ahumoa. Permittees must meet at Kilohana Check Station at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On Oct. 16, Nov. 17, and Dec. 15  at Pu‘u Mali. Permittees must meet at Kuhio Hale (Hawaiian Homes Hall – Waimea) at 6 a.m. sharp.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

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