Nature Conservancy VS. Molokai Hunters

It’s time to put down your guns

By now, mostly everyone has heard about that Molokai Hunters are battling the Nature Conservancy from bring professional hunters to Molokai.

The conservationists are arguing that the outside hunting group, Pro Hunt, will provide the technological sophistication needed to thin the island’s rampant goat and pig population. The Nature Conservancy is set on moving ahead with the project.

The local hunters who have worked side-by-side with the conservancy for almost 15 years, mostly unpaid, say the move is a slap in their face.

In a recent protest on Oahu, one person held up a sign proclaiming that the Nature Conservancy had a “missionary attitude.” That’s harsh, but not totally incorrect. “Missionary attitude” describes the idea that a person or group knows better than their indigenous host culture.

When the Nature Conservancy unveiled their plans to hire outsiders to hunt Molokai’s wild game it automatically put Molokai’s hunters on the defensive. And anyone who knows anything about Molokai’s activist-centric fighters knows that the hunters aren’t going to back down until the conservancy does.

At this point, the conservancy needs to publicly put their project on hold and agree to have an open public forum on the matter.

On the flip side, we should all remember the key issue here is conserving what’s left of Molokai’s fragile ecosystem. Anyone can see that the upper slopes of Kamalo are starting to resemble the eroded hillsides of Maunaloa. There is no question that animal control needs to be stepped up.

Can we learn something from techno-hunters who use satellites to help them hunt? Probably. But the only way to find out is if both sides put their guns down and come to the table.


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