The Humane Society of the United States Encourages Hawaii Residents to Report Wildlife Crimes Following Recent Deer Smuggling Case

In the wake of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s ongoing investigation into the illegal deer smuggling on to the Big Island and transport of Mouflon Sheep to Maui. The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust urge Hawaii residents to report wildlife crimes, including illegal wild animal transport or abandonment. Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for these crimes.

In January, The HSUS set up a confidential, toll-free tipline for the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, 1-855-DLNR-TIP, to report information on wildlife crimes. In June, Gov. Abercrombie enacted Senate Bill 3001; Act 144, sponsored by Sen. Gil Kahele and supported by The HSUS, DLNR and others, to explicitly prohibit the possession, transport or release of wild deer.

As a result of continued federal and state efforts to stop wildlife crimes in Hawaii, two individuals were recently brought to justice. A pilot who illegally transported wild animals and the owner of the Maui-based Arrow One hunting ranch, who received the animals, pleaded guilty earlier this week to misdemeanor violations of the federal Lacey Act – which prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold. The ranch owner also pleaded guilty to guiding a hunter without a state hunting license.

“We commend the Pacific Region of USFWS for their efforts to bring animal smugglers to justice,” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The HSUS. “Abandoning wild animals in our fragile environment or illegally transporting wild animals for unauthorized release for sport-hunting operations is irresponsible and we encourage Hawaii resident to report these crimes.”

DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. said, “We’re very pleased that our federal partners in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and U.S. Attorney’s Office were able to successfully investigate and prosecute the illegal transport of axis deer to the Big Island dating back to 2009 and hold those parties accountable for their previous irresponsible acts.”

Aila continued, “With the passage of Act 144, the State now has stronger laws and stiffer penalties to prohibit this type of unauthorized activity. The Department will vigorously investigate and prosecute anyone attempting to illegally transport and release deer between the islands in the future. The Department has the responsibility to do what we can to prevent the introduction of deer to the Big Island and avoid the damage that would occur to our agriculture, watersheds, and public safety.”


Under the new state law, first time violators face a misdemeanor charge with a mandatory fine of not less than $10,000 and payment of any costs incurred in the eradication of any deer and the deer’s progeny who has been possessed, transferred, transported, or released after transport, or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.
Under the federal Lacey Act, violators can face either a misdemeanor charge with up to 1 year in jail and a $100,0000 fine or a felony charge with a maximum fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both, and civil penalties of up to $10,000.

Anyone with information on illegal animal transport or release is asked to call the

HSUS/DLNR reward tipline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP or the USFWS Enforcement hotline at 1-808-861-8525. Residents on the Big Island are asked to report deer sightings to 808-443-4036.

For more information on The HSUS/DLNR reward tipline visit

Inga Gibson
Hawaii State Director, State Affairs
o 808-922-9910 c 808-354-3211 f 808-922-9911

The Humane Society of the United States
P.O. Box 89131, Honolulu, HI 96830 and

Governor Abercrombie Releases $52.5 Million for Capital Improvement Projects – $248,177 for Planning Reactivation of Kulani Prison

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $52.5 million for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) that will help shape Hawaiꞌi’s future in the areas of connectivity, energy and growth, while continuing the state’s strategy of stimulating the economy and generating local jobs through prioritized CIP work.

Governor Neil Abercrombie also signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Governors from Hiroshima, Saga, and Shizuoka prefectures. The MOUs will solidify Hawaii’s and Japan’s commitment to engaging in technological development in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The dignitaries, along with U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Governor Abercrombie and Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz and members of the U.S. Japan Council, met to discuss exchange and cooperation related to clean energy and trade. Later in the day, Governor attended the reception held by the U.S.-Japan council reception in celebration of the state to prefecture collaboration.

“Each of these projects represents an investment in the future of Hawaiꞌi and our ability to be proactive in shaping our future as a state,”said Governor Abercrombie. “This includes planning for an underwater fiber optic cable that will move us toward achieving our Hawaiꞌi Broadband Initiative goal of universal access to affordable, high-speed Internet by 2018. For a state as isolated as our own, high-speed Internet can be transformative, connecting families, businesses and institutions; spurring economic development and innovation; and giving current and future generations a competitive edge.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:

· $43,000,000 – Honolulu International Airport, Interim Car Rental Facility, O’ahu – Financing of a short-term loan, to be paid from rental motor vehicle customer facility charge special funds provided through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’“EB-5”Immigrant Investor program, for the construction of a temporary operational area for the five “on-airport”car rental companies (the overall project will allow expansion of the existing, undersized facility to at least eight rental car companies at the airport)

· $3,500,000 – Kalaeloa East Energy Corridor, O’ahu – Planning, design and construction of an electrical distribution system between Roosevelt Road and Tripoli Road at Kalaeloa (The Hawai’i Community Development Authority will develop an energy corridor in East Kalaeloa consisting of above-ground electrical and telecommunications cable lines)

· $2,200,000 – Transpacific Cable Project, statewide – Planning to create privately-managed, shared open-access submarine fiber optic cable land stations; the project will identify potential transpacific cable landing stations, rank potential sites, support environmental assessments with cable landing developers, and complete pre-engineering studies of selected sites (The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which receives the appropriation, will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the state Department of Defense to implement this project)

· $2,135,000 – Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) Information and Communication Services Division (ICSD) Radio Sites, statewide – Planning of health and safety improvements to support the state’s Anuenue and Hawaiian Microwave System and to expand radio communications coverage on O’ahu and Kaua’i

· $1,500,000 – Pohukaina Street Mixed-Use Transient Oriented Development Project, O’ahu – Planning for the Hawai’i Community Development Authority’s 690 Pohukaina Street Project, a mixed-use high rise condominium, two smaller residential and commercial buildings, a parking structure and civic-commercial center in Kaka’ako; the project will also be a transit-oriented development, designed to maximize access to public transportation and incorporate features to encourage transit ridership

· $248,177 – Kulani Correctional Facility, Hawai’i Island – Planning for the reactivation of the Kulani Correctional Facility

Hawaii Department of Health Urges ALL Baby Boomers to Get Hepatitis C Screening

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is echoing the recently released recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all persons born in the United States between 1945 and 1965 (“baby boomers”) receive a one-time hepatitis C test.

DOH joins local agencies such as Hep Free Hawai‘i and others across the nation to help raise awareness and support for improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for people at risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV), especially baby boomers.

“The CDC’s new, age-based HCV screening guidelines are an important step in ensuring quality health care for our communities. Often called the silent epidemic, most people with hepatitis C don’t have symptoms for many years and consequently don’t seek screening and treatment until they have liver disease or even liver cancer,” stated Thaddeus Pham, DOH Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator.

The CDC estimates that more than two million baby boomers have HCV, accounting for more than 75 percent of Americans living with this disease. People born from 1945 through 1965 currently are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. More than 15,000 Americans die of HCV annually, yet most people do not know that they have the disease because it is often asymptomatic. Offering a one-time HCV blood test to baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with HCV and save 12,000 lives.

Since 1998, the CDC has recommend HCV testing for anyone at high risk of infection. This group included anyone who has been exposed to blood through needle use, blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1992, or non-sterile equipment such as home tattoo needles. The CDC also recommends testing for healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers who have been exposed to HCV; babies born to HCV-positive mothers; and people living with HIV. The new recommendation includes all persons born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of whether they fall into these risk categories.

“Baby boomers in Hawai‘i shouldn’t wait until they feel sick to be tested because there are many things, including treatment, they can do to take care of themselves before they become ill. The earlier people know they have hepatitis, the better the outcome,” Pham said. The DOH recommends anyone who meets the CDC recommendations for hepatitis C screening go to their healthcare providers to get tested.

For more information on hepatitis B and C and for resources in Hawai‘i, individuals can call Aloha United Way 211 or go to More information on hepatitis B and C is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, or by calling 1-888-443-7232.

Researchers Return from 24-Day Expedition to Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

On August 24, 2012, the Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) returned to Ford Island aboard the NOAA Ship Hiʻialakai, signaling the end of a 24-day research expedition to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI).  This special place is not only the largest protected area in the United States and one of the largest in the world, but also one of the planet’s last apex predator-dominated ecosystems, its waters teeming with large schools of sharks and reef fish.

Divers conducting RAMP surveys at Gardner Pinnacles during past cruise. Credit: Jason Helyer/NOAA

The scientific party consists of staff from NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program, National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center-Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, the University of Hawaiʻi, and Scripps Research Institute.  The team made four stops during their time in the Monument, visiting French Frigate Shoals, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Reef and Kure Atoll to conduct various activities, including: rapid ecological assessments (REA) of reef fish, corals, other invertebrates and algae; coral disease surveys to determine disease presence in the NWHI; a bioerosion study to determine the growth and erosion of corals in the NWHI; and ecological acoustics research using underwater recording equipment.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to more than 7,000 marine species, including the Bluefin Trevally. Photo: James Watt

Rapid ecological assessments have been conducted in the NWHI since 2000.  Long-term monitoring of the abundance and distributions of reef fish, invertebrates, coral and algae are used to evaluate the status and trends of the health of these remote coral reef ecosystems.  These activities improve our understanding of the region’s marine systems and help us better manage the Monument.

The abundance of marine life in the NWHI can be seen in this school of Hawaiian squirrelfish at French Frigate Shoals. Photo: James Watt

This year, the team conducted 138 reef surveys across the four islands visited, recording no large coral or fish disease outbreaks, and no observations of any coral bleaching events.  Two alien species were sighted at Lisianski Island – a feather duster worm commonly found in the main Hawaiian Islands and a bryozoan (a lace-like colonial animal), both of which have been recorded in the Monument but were previously unrecorded at Lisianski.  Researchers also compiled data for a bioerosion study on corals that will help managers learn more about climate change and ocean acidification in the region.

Colorful reef fish – Pennantfish, Pyramid and Milletseed butterflyfish – school in great numbers at Rapture Reef, French Frigate Shoals. Photo: James Watt

An acoustics team deployed and retrieved several acoustic recorders throughout the Monument and found that the biological sounds made by coral reef organisms are much louder at night – at least double the intensity. The sounds were also found to generally be louder in areas where coral cover is greater, meaning that researchers and managers can potentially use passive recordings to estimate the state of a coral reef.

Sharks and other large fish are common on most reefs throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, one of the few marine ecosystems remaining on the planet still dominated by apex predators. Photo: James Watt

Regular encounters with predatory species such as sharks and Ulua are common in the NWHI as compared to the Main Hawaiian Islands.  The team saw many schools of large Ulua and sharks, including gray reef sharks, white tips, Galapagos, and one tiger shark.

Although not specifically looking for marine debris, researchers did come across some derelict fishing nets and removed them to prevent entanglement of monk seals, turtles and other marine life.

NOAA Ship Hiʻialakai. Credit: Michelle Gaither

This year’s cruise provided an important learning and training experience for marine science students, as well as outreach to schools back on land.  Five undergraduate and five graduate students from the University of Hawaiʻi, including two PhD students from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, and one postdoctoral student from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, participated in the expedition to do hands-on research.  In addition, staff from PMNM and the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Island Earth program conducted ship-to-classroom ‘ask a scientist’ sessions via email with ten public and charter schools throughout the state.  These schools will be treated to follow up visits by one of the scientists upon conclusion of the expedition.  These interactions focus on the importance of marine sciences, the unique ecosystems in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and the research conducted on the expedition.  COSEE staff also documented research activities to produce education materials and arranged two live broadcasts from the ship on the radio program Hawaii’s Tomorrow on 760 AM.

Researchers will work with partners at the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center to manage the RAMP data collected from the cruise, in an ongoing process to update an analyze time-series data collected over the years.  Results from various studies conducted in the Monument are reported at a Hawaiian symposium every year, which is open to the public.

To see the daily logs from the expedition on the PMNM website, visit:

Papahānaumokuākea is cooperatively managed to ensure ecological integrity and achieve strong, long-term protection and perpetuation of Northwestern Hawaiian Island ecosystems, Native Hawaiian culture, and heritage resources for current and future generations.  Three co-trustees – the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and State of Hawai‘i – joined by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, protect this special place. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was inscribed as the first mixed (natural and cultural) UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United States in July 2010.  For more information, please visit

The Pacific Rowing Race – California to Hawaii

New Ocean Wave announces the launch of the Pacific Rowing Race across 2400 miles of Pacific Ocean. No engine, No sails, Just muscle.

More people have been into space than have rowed across an ocean.  The majority of ocean rows have taken place over the same route across the Atlantic Ocean from east to west (Canary Islands to the Caribbean).  Now, thanks to New Ocean Wave, ocean rowing is coming to the United States of America and to the largest ocean on the planet – The Pacific Ocean.

The boat and equipment needed for a race like this:
1 – Solar Panels 2 – Rudder 3 – Radar Target Enhancer
4 – VHF aerial 5 – Navigation light 6 – Satellite phone and laptop
7 – Toilet paper and bucket 8 – Freeze dried / Wet food & snack bags 9 – Oars
10 – Sleeping bags and pillows 11 – Day tank for fresh water 12 – Para anchor, drogues & warps
13 – Life Raft and immersion suits 14 – Life Jackets 15 – Flares
16 – Snorkeling gear 17 – EPIRB (Emergency Positioning Locating Beacon) 18 – Sheepskin seat pads 19 – Emergency manual watermaker 20 – Medical kit 21 – Tracking beacon
22 – Cookers and spare gas canister 23 – Waterproof clothing

The Pacific Rowing Race starts in from Monterey Bay, California and finishes in Honolulu, Hawaii, representing a new race route for intrepid individuals and crews.  It is a route that has been completed by only a handful of row boats before.  The Pacific Rowing Race will increase that number significantly as up to 40 boats containing one, two or four adventurers from around the World set off from the start on 7th June 2014 and head west.  The race will be extremely challenging and will push the crews to their limits mentally, emotionally and physically.  Each boat uses only human power, no sails, no engines, just muscle. Crews will take more than 1,000,000 oar strokes and consume more than 250,000 calories as they row 2400 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a journey will take them between 35 and 90 days. If previous ocean rows are anything to go by, crews may spend extended periods rowing naked as saltwater soaked clothing can chafe the skin.

The Pacific Rowing Race is the brainchild of ocean rower Chris Martin who in 2009 became the first to row across the North Pacific in a pair from Japan to San Francisco. This journey took him and team mate Mick Dawson over 6 months to complete. Chris explains how his experiences in the North Pacific gave rise to the idea for the Pacific Rowing Race. “In my row to San Francisco I experienced the most phenomenal feeling on the last day, stepping off a boat I had powered across the ocean using my own muscles. I want to provide our entrants with the chance to have the opportunity to experience the same incredible feeling. Once they have rowed an ocean, our competitors will never look at a globe in the same way again. Those entering the race will also get to experience sights that it is impossible to witness by any other means from whales swimming within feet of the boat to phosphorescence in the water at night, absolutely breath taking natural beauty.”

The boats are ruggedly designed and purpose built using carbon fibre and Kevlar to make the boats as light and strong as possible.  Boats are approximately 26ft long and 5ft wide and are just big enough to provide safe passage for all crew members for the duration of the challenge.  Crews row round the clock taking it in turns to rest and eat. Each crew aims to complete the race without accepting outside assistance and will set out with everything they need including food, medical supplies and satellite communication equipment.  The flotilla of crews will be shadowed by a number of support yachts who will be able to provide assistance if it is required.

The last ocean rower to complete the route was environmental campaigner Roz Savage. New Ocean Wave has recruited Roz as a race consultant to ensure all crews benefit from her unique knowledge of the route and her experience as the first female to row across all three of the world’s major oceans, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.

By participating in a race, the risks to those new to the sport are mitigated through rigorous entry requirements, pre-race scrutineering of boats and equipment as well as the support boats.

The rewards on offer to the intrepid few, are great.  Many ocean rowers find their voyage a life-changing experience, boosting self-belief and opening up a whole new realm of what is possible.

Hawaii Invasive Plant Pest Advisory for a New Stinging Nettle

New Plant Pest Advisory for a stinging nettle, West Indian Woodnettle (Laportea aestuans).

This invasive plant is a new introduction to Hawaii and is a threat as an agricultural weed. It appears to be getting into the State with potted plants and in potting mix.

If you see this plant, report it immediately to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Plant Pest Control Branch at 973-9538.

More information:


Large Chinese Vessel to Participate in Maritime Exercises off Hawaiian Waters

I’ve gotten to participate in a few RIMPAC exercises over the last few years.  Here is another exercise that will be happening off the Hawaiian waters soon that will feature one of China’s biggest maritime patrol ships and the U.S. Coast Guard:

Haixun 31 maritime patrol vessel

The Haixun 31 maritime patrol vessel, one of China’s biggest maritime patrol ships, will set out for its first visit to the United States on Saturday.

Scheduled to depart from Shanghai at 10:30 am, Haixun 31 is expected to arrive in Hawaii on Sept 4. It will be there for five days to work with the US Coast Guard on a series of maritime cooperation exercises, including a field test of joint search-and-rescues…

…Gene Maestas, public-affairs officer of the Hawaii-based 14th Coast Guard District under the US Department of Homeland Security, confirmed the upcoming joint search-and-rescue operation…

…Apart from the regular cooperation on oceanic safety, Haixun 31 will also be open to the US public for a day during its visit…

More here: Patrol Vessel Heads to Hawaii for Joint Exercises

The public is invited aboard the ship for a day. I urge those with an interest to go check it out!

The public will be invited aboard!

Police Asking Public to Be on Lookout for Stolen Tractor

1:12 UPDATE:
Big Island police have located a stolen sports-utility vehicle but are still looking for a stolen tractor.

Wednesday morning (August 22), police received a report of a burglary at a home on North Road in Kurtistown. Officers discovered that a tractor and SUV had been stolen from the property.

The Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV was recovered in Kurtistown.

The 2004 Cub Cadet model 8454 tractor has yet to be located. It is described as yellow and white with a large single black roll bar over the driver’s seat. Its rear tires are larger than the front tires.

A stolen 007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV bears license plate HHH 060 and is two-tone silver and white with a factory roof rack.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Royce Serrao at 961-8810 or email him at

Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for a stolen tractor and sports-utility vehicle.

Wednesday morning (August 22), police received a report of a burglary at a home on North Road in Kurtistown. Officers discovered that a tractor and SUV had been stolen from the property.

The 2004 Cub Cadet model 8454 tractor is described as yellow and white with a large single black roll bar over the driver’s seat. Its rear tires are larger than the front tires.

The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV bears license plate HHH 060 and is two-tone silver and white with a factory roof rack.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Royce Serrao at 961-2383 or email him at

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.