National Park Service drafts Kalaupapa feral animal control plan.
By Melissa Kelsey
In a place as remote as Kalaupapa, the feral animal population can easily get out of hand. Recently, the peninsula has seen an increase in animals due to fencing failures, including areas surrounding Kalaupapa Airport.
The animals are getting through the barriers by passing through cattle guards, going under fences, and squeezing around fences by salt flats, according to Guy Hughes, Natural Resources Division Chief at Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
“Feral deer at the airport are a security concern,” commented Molokai resident Desiree Puhi at the Kalaupapa town meeting last Tuesday. “The last thing we want is for the 2:15 flight to run into some deer.”
To improve the situation, the National Park Service (NPS) is planning a series of fencing projects, scheduled for this summer.
The initiative calls for skirts to be added to the bottom of all fences in the region to help prevent the animals from crawling underneath. Old cattle guards will be replaced or improved. A new fence will be added to divide the current coastal management region in half, making the fenced units smaller and more practical to manage.
“These improvements are necessary to keep animals out of the airport for the long term,” said Hughes.
Complementary to the fence repairs, the NPS plans to use dogs to move feral animals out of fenced areas on specific days throughout August and September, according to Hughes. Temporary fences will be installed in strategic locations through the peninsula to create a more thorough procedure for pushing the animals.
Community members who have questions or input about the feral animal control plans should contact Guy Hughes or Paul Hosten, both of whom can be reached at the National Park Service at 567-6802.