Maui News

Sugimura: preliminary data shows there are 46,743 axis deer from ʻUlupalakua to Pāʻia

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PC: Hawai’i DLNR

Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura of Maui expressed her support for a proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Amendment from Mayor Michael Victorino that would create a micro-grants program for axis deer mitigation.

The proposed budget amendment was heard by the Maui County Council on Friday as Bill 46.  

“Through the work of the Maui Axis Deer Task Force and our many partners, we continue to see the immense damage caused by an overpopulation of axis deer.  While the Task Force continues to work on long-term solutions, a microgrant program will provide much needed relief to our farmers, ranchers, and others right away,” said Sugimura. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, the Task Force received updates on various work being done to address the increasing axis deer population and related negative impacts.  Preliminary data from a recently completed Axis Deer Assessment for the area from ʻUlupalakua to Pāʻia was included in these updates.  The assessment estimates that there are 46,743 axis deer within this area spanning 147,483 acres. 

The axis deer overpopulation problem is not unique to Upcountry. New aerial footage of Molokaʻi shows just how extensive the axis deer population has gotten on the Friendly Isle, and the threats that it is posing to agriculture and forested lands there. 

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In January, Governor David Ige signed a supplemental proclamation that extends the emergency relief period for conditions created by the overpopulation of axis deer in Maui County. The deer have been encroaching onto active runways at the Kahului Airport, creating unsafe conditions for aircraft landings and take-offs, according to state officials.

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“As we continue to gather data, our short and long-term actions can be better focused and efficient,” added Sugimura.  “A microgrant program will not only provide relief for those affected, but it will also help us gather more information through the grant reporting process.”  

The public has several options to provide testimony on Bill 46 (2022).  Individuals may submit written testimony to [email protected], or they may provide oral testimony by joining the online meeting link at https://maui.bluejeans.com/295235670.  The February 18th Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. 

Sugimura holds the Maui County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area.

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