Kona Historical Society nightingale killed in apparent accidental shooting at farm

  • Mele, Kona Historical Society's young Kona Nightingale, was killed by an errant bullet Saturday afternoon while grazing in her pasture. (Photo courtesy of Kona Historical Society/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Mele, Kona Historical Society's young Kona Nightingale, was killed by an errant bullet Saturday afternoon while grazing in her pasture. (Photo courtesy of Kona Historical Society/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • Charlie, right, a donkey that has spent the latter half of his life as a fixture at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, meets his new companion, Mele, for the first time in January 2017. Mele was killed by an errant bullet Saturday afternoon while grazing in her pasture. (Photo courtesy of Kona Historical Society/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Mele, the young donkey that lived on the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, was killed Saturday afternoon after she was struck by what appears to have been a stray bullet fired from an adjacent agricultural property.

Dance Aoki, interim development director at Kona Historical Society (KHS), of which the farm is a part, said the bullet struck Mele in the torso. The animal died before staff found her and realized what had occurred.

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“Mele was a beloved member of our museum ohana and she will be deeply missed by our staff, volunteers, visitors and friends,” Gavin Miculka, site manager at Kona Coffee Living History Farm and KHS director of interpretation, said in a press release. “To celebrate the role she played in our living history and museum programs, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm will be hosting a free public day soon to honor her.”

KHS subsequently reported the incident to the Hawaii Police Department. Major Robert Wagner said the investigation was ongoing as of Monday but that officers had already gleaned many of the facts behind the incident.

“The party was shooting at what appears to be wild chickens on his property and one of the bullets … ended up going into the neighbor’s area and striking a donkey,” Wagner explained.

Police have made a case of reckless endangering against the party, who Wagner declined to name, citing standard protocol.

Reckless endangering can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony “depending on the severity” of the endangerment, Wagner explained.

He added that criminal proceedings have been initiated and the case is likely to end up referred to the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where official charges and penalties will be determined.

Reckless endangering can stem from discharging a firearm in a residential area but also encompasses the crime of discharging a firearm in the direction of people. It remains unclear which portion of the law police believe the suspect violated, or if he violated both.

Aoki said the pasture is in the general vicinity of farm structures where employees work and where visitors, including school children, often come to learn about historical coffee farming practices on the island.

The farm was closed at the time of the incident, she added.

“It’s hard to speculate on that particular detail,” said Aoki when asked if patrons or employees would have been in potential danger had the farm been open at the time of the incident. “But (safety) is something we think about and are very concerned about.”

KHS brought Mele, who was a little more than a year old, to the farm roughly one year ago as part of an effort to find a social companion for the farm’s aging nightingale, Charlie, now 31 years of age.

“It was a two-year-long campaign that we wanted to do for Charlie,” Aoki explained. “He’s getting up in years and donkeys are pack animals, so the campaign to get Charlie a companion was a really special one for the community.”

Staff involved the public in the naming process, allowing both island residents and visitors to vote on potential names for the young donkey. The name “Mele” won out.

Mele was already a part of the visitor experience and general programming at the farm. The intention was to transition her into Charlie’s role as the primary demonstrator of how Nightingales were used to farm coffee in years past.

Aoki said the hope is to find another path forward in the future, perhaps with another young donkey, but that the staff is currently focused on what she described as “a huge loss.”

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“Our primary concern in the aftermath of this horrible incident is the health of Charlie and our animals, and the well-being and direct communication we offer our staff, patrons and supporters who were all so invested in this sweet little girl and the endearing story that unfolded between Charlie and her,” said KHS Executive Director Joy Holland.

“We are just utterly devastated right now and can’t yet think of what comes next.”

  1. Buds4All May 1, 2018 3:44 am

    Shameful!


    1. sonneofmanisrael May 1, 2018 5:26 am

      Truly.


  2. Big ideas May 1, 2018 6:29 am

    Reckless endangering can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony “depending on the severity” of the endangerment, Wagner explained

    I’d say dead is pretty severe!


    1. Chickie Galore May 1, 2018 10:18 am

      Can anyone be charged for be obviously stupid?


  3. antifaHI May 1, 2018 7:19 am

    Just get a gun. Just shoot. Don’t think. Don’t aim. The NRA backs you anyways.


    1. Chickie Galore May 1, 2018 10:17 am

      No. Actually the NRA believes in education of gun owners so they wouldn’t shoot where a bullet can end up on an adjacent property.


      1. Du Mhan Yhu May 1, 2018 10:40 am

        There is no discussion with hate-filled leftists. This incident violates one of the primary firearms safety rules about knowing what is behind your intented target.


      2. antifaHI May 2, 2018 4:22 am

        Bull! They don’t believe their own crap. NRA conferences should be the safest place in the world then. But hey, they don’t allow guns at their own conferences!


        1. Du Mhan Yhu May 2, 2018 8:34 am

          With the President in attendance, moron.


          1. antifaHI May 2, 2018 5:30 pm

            Ah, the fake marine is back. Du mhan yhu where it hurts!


          2. Du Mhan Yhu May 2, 2018 6:46 pm

            Care to wager $10,000 on that, hag?


          3. antifaHI May 3, 2018 8:35 pm

            Doubtful that you ever had that amount to your name.


          4. Du Mhan Yhu May 4, 2018 8:26 am

            So, you cowardly old hag, too chickenshiite to put your money where your fugly mouth is?

            Exactly what i figured when forced against the wall. Liberals remain cowards, true to form.


          5. antifaHI May 4, 2018 6:43 am

            Ever had that much in your name, wannabe warrior?


  4. Emily T Gail May 1, 2018 7:29 am

    So sorry to hear this … heartbreaking.


  5. Juada Pendejo May 1, 2018 7:40 am

    Guns don’t kill donkeys, asses kill donkeys.


  6. Chickie Galore May 1, 2018 10:16 am

    Dumb Asses with guns. Wait, stupid, lazy hunters.


  7. paul May 1, 2018 4:25 pm

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


  8. Juada Pendejo May 1, 2018 6:50 pm

    That donkey might still be alive if those chickens were armed and had been allowed to defend themselves. The alleged shooter may have thought twice about shooting if he had to consider that every chicken could be an armed chicken.


  9. Du Mhan Yhu May 1, 2018 7:38 pm

    NOT accidental, grossly NEGLIGENT!

    Caps needed for those that have agendas. Chickens or not, you have to abide by the rules for hunting and target shooting safety.


  10. pinlightbent May 9, 2018 9:52 am

    He traded his legs for angels wings.

    He’s 5,000 candles in the wind.


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