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Voice Your Opinion on the New Pest Plan to Control Mongooses in Hawai‘i

A new strategy for controlling rats and mongooses in conservation areas needs public comment by April 7.


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Photo: courtesy of kaua‘i invasive species committee

 

Rats and mongooses better beware.

 

There’s a new push to get them out of conservation areas, where they do major damage to important native ecosystems.

 

The import mistake is an oft-told tale. In 1883, the mongoose was brought in to control the growing rat population. But opposite sleep cycles meant that, instead of the mongooses killing the rats, they took the day shift, devastating important habitats, damaging agricultural crops and decimating native bird populations.

 

Pest control in urban and agricultural areas needs to be adapted for conservation lands to protect the native wildlife and plants from extinction. 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are proposing a new pest management plan for these areas and are looking for public input through April 7.

 

The new plan aims to increase the effectiveness of rodent and mongoose management in the main Hawaiian Islands, becoming more efficient with limited funding, and develop techniques to eradicate rodents from uninhabited islands here and on other U.S. Pacific Islands—all while avoiding adverse impacts on human health, safety, the environment, and cultural rights and resources.

 

Possible methods include mechanical traps and federally approved rodenticides, which can be used in bait stations or distributed by hand or air, a method that has proven successful in New Zealand.

 

There are more than 500 listed unique plants and animals in Hawai‘i that can be found nowhere else in the world. Some are specific to just a single mountain or island.

 

“We want to ensure that they are not lost for future generations, and this effort is one key way to do this,” says Christine Ogura, FWS compliance monitoring coordinator for the Pacific Islands. “This is why we want to welcome everyone to help figure this out together.”

 

To submit comments electronically, visit regulations.gov and follow the instructions for Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2015-0026. To submit via U.S. mail, write to the Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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