Temporary Closures on Mauna Kea Allow for Animal Control Efforts
Some areas of Mauna Kea will be closed on Oct. 25 and 26, 2018, for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlifeʻs (DOFAW) animal control efforts. These areas include the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve, Palila Mitigation Lands, Kaʻohe Game Management Area, and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road. The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.
DOFAW will be trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon, and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids in these areas under a federal mandate to protect the habitat of the Palila, an endemic Hawaiian bird. According to the DLNR, the areas are being closed to avoid any potential danger to the public, as the animal control efforts will involve aerial shooting and staff hunting.
Only individuals with a permit for animal salvaging will be allowed access to these areas at 7 a.m. on Oct. 25 and at 6 a.m. on Oct. 26. The Hale Pōhaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 and will reopen at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26.
Copies of the map with the areas subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available at the DOFAW office in Kamuela.
Carcasses gathered from the shoot will be available for the permitted public for salvage (four-wheel drive vehicles are required and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be available for salvage. Those granted a permit will be notified of salvage locations.
Due to high public participation in animal salvaging, the DOFAW Kamuela office will be taking phone calls for salvage permits beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17 and at 10 a.m. before each shoot day.
Only one permit will be issued per call. A permit is valid for one vehicle for one day only. Applicants can have their names added to a waitlist for additional days if there are extra spots. No one on the waitlist without a permit will be allowed access at the gates.
Each caller must provide the driverʻs name, passengersʻ names, their vehicle license plate, and make/model of their vehicle during the phone call. A maximum of 15 vehicles will be allowed entrance at the Pu‘u Ahumoa location and the Pu‘u Mali location.
More information on meat salvage and access permits can be found by contacting the DOFAW Kamuela office at (808) 887-6063. Additional information is also available by contacting the Hilo office at (808) 974-4221.