KAILUA-KONA — The state plans animal control activities to trap mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids next week on Hawaii Island.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife said staff hunting and/or aerial shooting from helicopters is scheduled for Thursday and Friday in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve (Unit K), Palila Mitigation Lands, and the Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G).
DOFAW says aerial shooting is required for compliance with a federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.
Because of the activities, public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, the Kaohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed by permit only for animal salvage purposes those days.
The Maunakea Access Road will remain open.
DOFAW says the temporary closure is needed 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 Recreation Area will be locked at 7 p.m. Wednesday and reopened at 7 p.m. Friday:
Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the DOFAW office in Kamuela.
Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Waimea office at 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. Oct. 17 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 stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No one on the stand-by list who waits 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 Ahumoa location and 15 permitted vehicles at the Puu Mali location.
For more information on meat salvage and access permits contact one of these DOFAW offices, call 887-6063 (Waimea) or 974-4221 (Hilo).