Dates set for DLNR aerial hunts over Mauna Kea palila habitat
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife will conduct animal control activities within Palila Critical Habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands and Kaohe Game Management Area for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and hybrids. The activities include trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, staff hunting and aerial shooting from helicopters.
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 are as follows: Oct. 1, 2, and 31; Nov. 1; and Dec. 19 and 20.
Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Palila Mitigation Lands, Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G) and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted, and allowed by permit only for animal salvage purposes on the following dates: from 7 a.m. Oct. 1 to 7 p.m. Oct. 2; from 7 a.m. Oct. 31 to 7 p.m. Nov. 1, and from 7 a.m. Dec. 19 to 7 p.m. Dec. 20.
The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.
The temporary closure is required to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Park will be locked at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 and reopened at 5 a.m. Oct. 3; locked at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and reopened at 5 a.m. Nov. 2; and locked at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and reopened at 5 a.m. Dec. 21.
Copies of the map of the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at Division of Forestry and Wildlife officers.
In an effort to provide the public use of the animals for consumption, carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the location listed below. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required and access permits will be issued. However, there is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.
Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the Waimea Office at 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. Sept. 18 to 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 standby 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 Puu Koohi location and 10 at the Kaluamakani location.
The salvage locations are subject to change. On Oct. 1, Oct. 31, and Dec. 19 at Puu Koohi, permittees must meet at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. On Oct. 2, Nov. 1, and Dec. 20 at Kaluamakani, permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m.
For more information regarding meat salvage or access permits, contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at 974-4221 or in Waimea at 887-6063.