Goat used to educate elementary students returns to Makaha farm

Photo: Shannon Shima

Update posted April 3, 2017:

Charlie’s back!

Hoa Aina O Makaha farm owner Gigi Cocquio says the goat was located in a yard just down the road Wednesday. He believes the person who initially stole Charlie let him go, and “the goat eventually ended up in the garden next to the house of a friend of ours.”

Cocquio attributes Charlie’s return to news coverage and the public’s assistance. “Thanks to all of you. It was a great presentation you guys did, and it was really very nice and I think people, so many, many people saw it, so we got a lot of response, and we are really thankful for that,” he said. “Tomorrow, when the kids come back to school, they will be so happy to see the goat again.”

Original story posted April 3, 2017:

Police are investigating a theft in Makaha that’s left elementary school children crushed.

Hoa Aina O Makaha farm is located right next door to Makaha Elementary. The farm’s educational goat was taken overnight.

Charlie had been part of the farm for about three years. Workers noticed he was missing during the morning feed.

“They broke the fence and the goat was very friendly, so I suspect they just followed,” said Gigi Cocquio, the farm’s owner.

Not only is the stolen goat a loss for the farm, it’s a loss for neighboring Makaha Elementary.

We’re told 600 kids visit the farm each week, and Charlie was used to teach students about responsibility and earning rewards.

“You have to earn to go in there. You have to earn to come on the farm, it’s a privilege,” said teacher Monique Sylva. “Today, my kids were very disappointed when they came. Some earned all week before spring break, you know? They looked forward to the goat, and the goat wasn’t here. … It’s hard to explain to my students why we don’t have the goat today.”

Last year, another small goat was taken from the farm.

“After we had an open house, usually we have about 1,000 people. One week later, it got taken,” Cocquio said. “In talking with other people, it happens quite often.”

“I can almost guarantee you, the types of students I work with will come here every day to see if the goat comes back,” Sylva said.

Thieves have targeted the farm over the last month. We’re told a laptop, propane tanks, even food from the farm’s kitchen have been stolen.

“Maybe it’s one percent of the population in Makaha, Waianae that can do that. The rest of the people are really wonderful,” Cocquio said. “It’s not easy to accept all of this, but we know something good will happen.”

Police have opened a felony theft case. If you have any information, you’re asked to call police.

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