WAILUKU, Maui — A group battling the spread of invasive axis deer on Maui says at least 2,500 of the animals were removed from the island last year.
The Maui Axis Deer Working Group says it killed an estimated 1,700. Another 875 were killed by the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative.
Maui Axis Deer Working Group program coordinator Kanalu Sproat says the group is developing a database that will keep track of removed deer.
Axis deer are native to South Asia. The state brought a few deer to Maui in the 1950s to expand hunting opportunities. The deer’s population has since grown rapidly because it has no natural predators on Maui.
The county estimates axis deer caused $1 million in damage to Maui farms, ranches and resorts in 2011 and 2012.