Changing the paradigm
of game mammal management in Hawai‘i
Recent pig digging at the Kahuku-Ka‘u
Forest Reserve boundary. Photo: Rick Warshauer
the political will, it would be possible to eliminate pigs from most
if not all remaining natural areas on the islands within a decade
or two. But while some progress is being made, eradication is not
happening nearly as fast as it could...So long as a significant portion
of the population remains sympathetic to the notion that pigs are
legitimate residents of native forests or believes that pig presence
is preferable to snaring, Hawaii’s native species will continue
to disappear as pigs degrade the state’s remaining natural
areas beyond recognition."
Out of Place by Jason and Roy Van Driesche, Island Press, 2000.
CCH is working with other groups
and individuals to find solutions. A necessary step is for the Department
and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DLNR/DOFAW)
to produce an island-by-island strategic management plan for
game animals. They have never had such a plan, and the result is
statewide land degradation by introduced pigs, goats, sheep, and
Pu'u Wa'a Wa'a
on the Big Island is home to a number of rare and endangered dryland
species. For some reason, this publicly owned land is still used
as pasture for cattle and even feral sheep, which graze the vegetation
down to its roots.
game animal damage to natural areas affects everyone who drinks
water. It’s time to shift the paradigm and move toward fencing
the game management areas (GMAs) so the islands can begin to recover
from decades of rooting and grazing.
What can you do?
- Contact the DOFAW
branch manager on your island and ask what their plans are to
control game mammals that are damaging public lands. Ask to see written
plans for the the game program that detail how game
management will be made compatible with conservation efforts. Contact
your representatives and
the governor's office and
ask what they intend to do about this very
costly problem. If every legislator and
DOFAW manager heard from a few dozen constituents, it would have
- Learn more about feral pigs, goats, sheep, and deer: how they cost
billions annually in environmental damage worldwide, and how
other places control them.
- If you want to do more, contact the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i
and ask to be kept informed about legislation, or ask about joining
our working group.
- If you have specific
damage to report, let us know.
Damage to public lands, native plants and animals, soil disruption;
lands—is it costing you money? Send photos and describe
the location, where and when it was seen. We’re documenting
animal damage for the legislature.
- Call DOFAW for
help with feral pigs, deer, cattle, goats, or sheep on your property.
- Work with hunting
and environmental groups to improve access to areas that need more
hunting to reduce animal damage.
Public hunting is the first line of defense for some areas.
When that is no longer effective,
land managers must bring in staff to do the job.
- Urge DOFAW
to draft an island-by-island strategic management plan for game
animals to include sustainable-yield
hunting in appropriate GMAs and reducing the number of animals
they cause outside the GMAs. The game portion of Pittman
could be used for fencing.
Kaupo Gap fenceline at Haleakala National Park. Before
fencing, there was devastation throughout the area, primarily from
goats. There are also cattle, axis deer and pigs on ranchland below
the fence. The last goat was removed from the Summit District in May
1991 and the last pig in September 1993. Bill Haus, National Park Service
employee controls exotic weeds below the fence, mainly christmasberry
and silver oak trees. Photo: Patti Welton.