Maui News

DeCoite Wants Second Proclamation to Address Drought Affects on Axis Deer

October 29, 2021, 4:43 PM HST
* Updated October 29, 6:15 PM
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Axis deer, file photo courtesy The Nature Conservancy and DLNR.

Senator Lynn DeCoite is asking Governor David Ige to explore the possibility of issuing a second emergency proclamation to address the continued mitigation efforts in Maui County to manage the axis deer population.

Lynn DeCoite. Courtesy photo.

DeCoite, who represents District 7, which includes Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe and Molokini, said the first emergency proclamation issued by the governor in January 2021, helped to open up funding and support from various government agencies to address the devastation caused by the uncontrolled numbers of axis deer.

A “Maui Axis Deer Task Force” was formed by the County of Maui and includes stakeholders from the county, state and federal governments, as well as members from farming and ranching communities. The task force’s purpose is to manage and control the axis deer problem, while working to find resources and additional funding sources.

“In talking with members of the task force, we believe that a similar proclamation will help to free up resources that can be used to help control the axis deer population,” said Sen. DeCoite.

In a letter to Governor David Ige, dated Oct. 28, Sen. Decoite said the continued drought conditions in Maui County led to rampant numbers of axis deer causing health and safety issues across the county.

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According to Sen. DeCoite, Maui and Moloka’i saw the worst of the devastation caused by the uncontrolled axis deer populations.

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As a member of the Maui Axis Deer Taskforce, DeCoite said, “I would like to request your administration explore the possibility of another emergency proclamation to continue the drought mitigation efforts in Maui County including support to manage the axis deer population.”

She is awaiting a response from the Governor.

Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz responded to a media request for comment on Friday regarding the issue saying, “We definitely have a deer problem. When Rep. Kahele was over here, that was one of the major topics. We have a committee that we’ve been working with, [working] with the county council, Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura, as well as with Congressman Kahele and his team, as well as many others from our community.”

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“[It’s] definitely a big issue with axis deer and invasive species in our community… even down into Central Maui right now. The thing with the emergency proclamations is that they help us to achieve the objectives that we want to sometimes in a more timely manner… so we would encourage an additional proclamation,” said Baz.

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