Rare Hawai‘i: It wasn’t meant to be a barnyard

70 million years of evolution. Thousands of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Introduced pigs, goats, deer and sheep roaming freely over public lands. More than 265 extinctions and counting.

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Costs (Residents pay)

Policy and Control Outside Hawaii (Hawaii Lags)

Problem Overview

Newspaper and Magazine Articles NEW article Dec. 5 '07

A Look at What We're Losing


Feral Pigs and the Death of Hawaii's Native Birds

Native Hawaiians Speak Out




Scientific Reference List

Don Chapman describes being in a Hawaiian rainforest

Edward O. Wilson on Biodiversity

Report about invasive species in Hawaii available online From The Hawaii State Legislative Reference Bureau (pdf file)

Environmental Valuation and the Hawaiian Economy takes a look at the financial and social costs of losing native Hawai`i.

USGS's Hawaii and the Pacific Islands page. Scroll down a few pages and look for Feral Pigs, followed by Feral Goats and so on.

Link to Nature out of place, Chapter 1 (pdf file)

Controlling Feral Animals (see how they do it Down Under)

Other Environmental Issues

Speak Out!

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Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 9, 2003 (link to complete article is below):

Tony Durso, resource manager for Ulupalakua Ranch: "The crop, fence and automobile damage is estimated not in tens of thousands of dollars, but in the hundreds of thousands."

"It is critical that effective strategies be planned and put in place now rather than after the problem has become even greater than it already is."

Jerry Simpson, who grows sweet corn on his small Kula farm, told of his troubles with the deer that three years ago cost him $20,000.

As with Hawaii's other introduced game mammals, despite hunting, the numbers and range of deer continue to increase, with a corresponding increase in damage to the Hawaiian environment. It's time the State took another look and compared the benefits of free-roaming game animals vs. the enormous (and enormously expensive) damage they are doing to the environment and personal property.

Below: Native sandalwood trees, axis deer rubbing, Maui. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr, USGS.

Above: Native mamane tree, bark stripping by axis deer, Maui. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr, USGS.

Axis deer, native to India, were brought to Maui in 1959 by order of the State legislature "as a game species with reportedly low reproductive potential." Nevertheless, from two introductions totalling just 9 deer, the population has grown dramatically. Estimates from 2000 were between 3,000 and 4,000 animals, with about 9,000 deer projected by the year 2003 and 20,000 by 2008 if something isn't done (Eric Nishibayashi, a conservancy wildlife biologist in the Star-Bulletin, August 28, 2001).

Lana'i's unique dryland forests have been decimated by the axis deer. They feed on almost everything and are very difficult to fence in or out.

Black-tailed deer were brought to Kauai in 1961 from Oregon by the State of Hawai'i Fish and Game Division (a predecessor to DOFAW). According to current State records, they are feeding largely on the introduced species strawberry guava, thimbleberry, passion flower, and blackberry (which means they are spreading the seeds of these invasive plants), and the native species maile, a'ali'i, 'uki'uki, pilo, and koa.

Maui Axis Deer Group report. Note the last two pages, maps of deer collisions on Maui and the current range compared with where the original 9 deer were introduced.

Deer and ticks. Study on the relationship between deer numbers, ticks, and Lyme disease.

Maui works on policy to get handle on deer population. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 9, 2003.

Bambi vs. Hawaii. Maui News, Sept. 1, 2001.

Fence goes up to protect rainforest.

Deer population boom threatens Maui forests, farms. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 28, 2001.

Hawaiian Rainforests. "So the $5 million in goat and pig fencing is of no use. You can see the devastation that deer have caused on Lanai and Molokai. This is a time bomb waiting to go off."