(Hilo) – The palila, an endangered, native Hawaiian forest bird, is receiving assistance next month from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
DOFAW will conduct trapping of mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, and staff hunting and/or aerial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K), Palila Mitigation Lands, and the Kaʻohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawaiʻi.
Aerial shooting is required for compliance with a federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from the critical habitat.
Control work is scheduled for February 17 and 18. Public access to affected areas and the Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed by permit only for animal salvage purposes on the following days:
- 7 a.m. February 17
- 6 a.m. February 18
The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open. The temporary closure is needed to minimize any danger and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pōhaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:
- Locked at 7 p.m. on February 16 and reopened at 7 p.m. on February 18
Copies of a map illustrating the areas subject to aerial shooting are available for inspection at the DOFAW office in Kamuela.
Telephone calls to the DOFAW Kamuela Office for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. on February 10 until 0 a.m. on February 16. 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 to (808) 887-6063
A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed at the Puʻu Ahumoa location and 15 permitted vehicles at the Puʻu Mali location.
Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permit holders for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicles 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 February 17 at Puʻu Ahumoa. Permittees meet at Kilohana check-in station at 7 a.m. sharp.
- On February 18 at Puʻu Mali. Permittees meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp
Contact the DOFAW Offices in Kamuela for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits. The official legal notice will be posted on the department’s hunting webpages under https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/recreation/hunting/hunting-announcements/.