Proposal Would Allow Federal Authorities to Hunt Invasive Species in Hawaii

Hawaii’s legislature is considering legislation that would allow federal officials to hunt feral animals in aerial hunts as part of that state’s effort to eradicate invasive species. Not surprisingly, animal rights activists are lining up to oppose the change.

Currently, the state already conducts 6-12 aerial hunts of wild pigs, goats, sheep, deer and cattle on state-owned and private land. But under state law, federal officials are not allowed to participate in such hunts unless the animals are near federal lands.

Cathy Goeggel, president of Animal Rights Hawaii, urged the legislature to defeat the measure, telling the Associated Press,

We know that Hawaii’s fragile environment faces many perils, most of them resulting from human occupation. We urge you to deny this carte blanche requested for the federal agencies to do anything they want to animals who have committed no crime and did not ask to be brought here.

But the problem here is that the invasive species that did not ask to be brought to Hawaii are causing major problems for the native species which is why environmentalists and groups like the Nature Conservancy have supported the proposal and the effort to eradicate invasive species.

Brian O’Connor notes a web page at Earlham College which does an excellent job of highlighting the problems posed by non-native species in Hawaii,

In Hawaii there is only two native species of mammals, the Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Lasirus cinereus semotus), and the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi). The lack of native mammals leaves Hawaiian ecosystems very vulnerable, native species have not evolved defenses to the mammalian predators and herbivores that have been introduced in the last 300-1000 years. Therefore making native species very vulnerable to attack. Add on the warm tropical climate in Hawaii, lack of competitors and predators, and this archipelago provides an ideal habitat for nearly all introduced mammals to become established.

The full text of the bill can be read here.


Hunting bill is opposed by animal rights coalition. B. J. Reyes, Associated Press, February 9, 2004.

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