Drought causing axis deer starvation, death on Molokai

  • In this undated 2020 satellite image, runoff from the island of Molokai is shown flowing into the ocean. (Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, Allen Coral Atlas/via AP)

  • In this undated 2020 aerial photo provided by the Arizona State University's Global Airborne Observatory, runoff from the island of Molokai is shown flowing into the ocean. (Global Airborne Observatory, Arizona State University via AP)

  • Axis deer walk through an opening in Maunaloa, Molokai, on Jan. 15. Axis deer, a species native to India that were presented as a gift from Hong Kong to the king of Hawaii in 1868, have fed hunters and their families on the rural island of Molokai for generations. But for the community of about 7,500 people where self-sustainability is a way of life, the invasive deer are a cherished food source but also a danger to the island ecosystem. Now, the proliferation of the non-native deer and drought on Molokai have brought the problem into focus. Hundreds of deer have died from starvation, stretching thin the island’s limited resources.

  • An axis deer, dead in a field Jan. 15 on Molokai. (Photos by Cory Lum/Honolulu Civil Beat via AP)

  • Resident Walter Ritte walks past dead axis deer in a large pit on Jan. 15 on Molokai. (Cory Lum/Honolulu Civil Beat via AP)

  • This image provided by Honolulu Civil Beat shows axis deer grazing in a field near Hoolehua, Molokai, on Jan. 15. Axis deer, a species native to India that were presented as a gift from Hong Kong to the king of Hawaii in 1868,  have fed hunters and their families on the rural island of Molokai for generations. But for the community of about 7,500 people where self-sustainability is a way of life, the invasive deer are a cherished food source but also a danger to the island ecosystem. Now, the proliferation of the non-native deer and drought on Molokai have brought the problem into focus. Hundreds of deer have died from starvation, stretching thin the island's limited resources. (Cory Lum/Honolulu Civil Beat via AP)

  • In this undated 2020 aerial photo provided by the Arizona State University’s Global Airborne Observatory, runoff from the island of Molokai is shown flowing into the ocean. (Global Airborne Observatory, Arizona State University/via AP)

HONOLULU — Axis deer, a species native to India presented as a gift from Hong Kong to the king of Hawaii in 1868, have fed hunters and their families on Molokai for generations. But for the community of about 7,500, where self-sustainability is a way of life, the invasive deer are both a cherished food source and a danger to their island ecosystem.