Coast Guard Conducts Medevac Near Hilo

The Coast Guard successfully medevaced a crewmember aboard a motor tanker approximately 92 miles southeast of Hilo, Friday.

Coast Guard watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received a request for assistance from the crew of the 580-foot Cayman Island-flagged motor tanker Stolt Topaz at 7:53 a.m., Thursday. A 56-year-old Filipino crewmember was reportedly suffering symptoms of a heart attack.

A  Coast Guard flight surgeon determined the crewmember required urgent medical treatment based on his symptoms. At the time of the call, the vessel was on a transpacific voyage, 477 miles southeast of the Big Island. The crew changed course toward Hawaii to reduce the distance of the medevac.

HC-130 Hercules airplane

HC-130 Hercules airplane

Coast Guard crewmembers from Air Station Barbers Point aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter were launched from Hilo Airport at 7:30 a.m., Friday. The Dolphin crew rendezvoused with the vessel and safely hoisted the patient at 9:05 a.m.

The helicopter crew flew the patient to Hilo Airport and transferred him to an ambulance, at 9:45 a.m. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center for further treatment.

For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 17-Year-Old Kona Girl

4/23/13 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 17-year-old Aisha Freitas of Kona, who was reported missing.

She was found unharmed in Kona at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 23).

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kona girl who was reported missing.

Aisha Freitas

Aisha Freitas

Aisha Freitas was last seen at Konawaena High School on Tuesday (April 16). She is described as 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-5, 110 pounds with brown eyes, black wavy hair and a fair complexion. She may be in the Kona area.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Clive Okino at 326-4646, ext. 276..

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. 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.

Neighborhood Place of Puna: Sports Rescue Program

Calling for Donations of new and gently used youth sports equipment.

Neighborhood Place of Puna is seeking donations of new and gently used youth sports equipment for our Sports Rescue Program.

Sports Rescue

Neighborhood Place of Puna’s Sports Rescue program takes donated sports equipment like footballs, cleats, protective gear, and makes it available to East Hawaii children and youth who cannot afford to buy the equipment necessary to play sports.

Neighborhood Place of Puna believes that every child deserves the right to play team sports. The Sports Rescue program is one way that we as a community can share what we have to make sure that every child has a chance to play team sports.

Donations will be accepted at our Pahoa office, 15-3039 Pahoa Village Rd, during business hours: 8:00am-4:30pm, Monday – Friday.

Other collection dates include:

  • Saturday, April 27th: 10 am – 1 pm- Sangha Hall in Hilo at the Celebrate Your Family Event
  • Saturday May 18th, 5pm- 10pm- Civic Auditorium at the Paradise Roller Girls Season Opener
  • Saturday June 22nd, 8am– Maku’u Market at the Annual Free School Supply Distribution

This program is made possible through a grant from Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation.

Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help families raise healthy safe keiki by providing families with the tools and supports they need to be successful.

New Study Provides First Direct Evidence of Feral Cats in Hawaii Killing Endangered Hawaiian Petrel

A new study by federal and university scientists has provided the first direct videographic evidence of depredation of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel by feral cats. The study affirms large amounts of earlier anecdotal evidence that feral cats are an important factor in population declines of the species and provides important additional information on the behavior of cats at petrel burrows.

Hawaiian Petrel and egg by Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project

Hawaiian Petrel and egg by Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project

The study, which was prepared by scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi, National Park Service, and U.S. Geological Survey, involved the monitoring of 14 Hawaiian Petrel burrows with digital infrared video cameras that produced 819 videos and 89 still photographs during 2007 and 2008 at petrel nesting areas on Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi Island. The study confirmed the presence of feral cats at eight burrows.

The report says that the effects of feral cats on endangered birds are poorly understood because many endangered species are rare and therefore observed infrequently. In addition, some endangered species are nocturnal and occur only seasonally in remote and inaccessible environments.

All that is true in the case of the Hawaiian Petrel. This species was once numerous and widespread throughout the entire Hawaiian archipelago but now numbers only about 15,000 birds distributed in isolated breeding colonies on Kauaʻi, Lanaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island. The birds spend most of their time at sea, and return to land only to breed in barren alpine areas and steep forested slopes, where they come and go from underground burrows nocturnally. Usually, confirmation of breeding is determined by a variety of indirect signs such as the presence of droppings, feathers, footprints, or vocalizations.

Depredation of Hawaiian Petrel adults and chicks at colonies has been frequently documented and attributed to cats based on the condition of bird carcasses and the presence of nearby cat scat.  Analysis of cat scat and stomach contents of feral cats also suggest that cat depredation is occurring. However, the technology does not currently exist to differentiate whether petrel remains came from consumption of live prey or scavenged dead animals.

One feral cat depredation event was recorded on video in 2008 and showed a feral cat waiting near the entrance of a burrow for over one hour.  When the petrel chick emerged, the cat quickly grabbed it. The remains of the chick were found 10 meters from the burrow. Evidence from an additional depredation event was documented in 2008 during a field visit by researchers, while eight other depredation events were documented during field visits in 2007.

The report says that the video data should prove useful in studying both the bird’s nesting behavior and predator interactions. “This information may prove to be beneficial for developing more targeted management strategies for a suite of endangered bird species in Hawaii,” said Dr. Steven Hess of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Videographic evidence already exists for feral cat depredation of another endangered Hawaiian bird, the Palila, while another video shows a feral cat trying to take the egg of a Nēnē, the endangered Hawaiian Goose. According to the study, other strong evidence for the negative effects of feral cats on native Hawaiian seabirds comes from the positive response of bird populations where feral cats have been controlled and from comparisons of Wedge-tailed Shearwater reproduction in the presence and absence of feral cats.

The authors point out that while the depredation of Hawaiian Petrel chicks may limit the recruitment of chicks into the population, the killing of adults by cats may have even more severe consequences.

“This species has delayed sexual maturity, low reproductive potential and extended nestling development, all of which place a premium on survivorship of the adult birds. Further, the birds also have a high degree of mate fidelity and may have difficulty replacing mates that have been depredated,” said Dr. Darcy Hu of the National Park Service.

She pointed out that the majority of numerous depredated Hawaiian Petrel carcasses found in the study area were adult birds, presumably ones that were actively breeding or seeking mates.

“These data provide yet more evidence that feral cats are having an impact on many wildlife species, but especially on birds,” said George Wallace, ABC’s Vice President for Oceans and Islands. “Feral cats are believed to have been at least partially, if not fully, responsible for the extinction of several dozen wildlife species, including the Stephens Island Wren of New Zealand and Mexico’s Guadalupe Storm-Petrel.  Management controls, such as predator control and predator-proof fencing are urgently needed to prevent that from happening to the Hawaiian Petrel.”

One such effort is underway to protect Mauna Loa’s Hawaiian Petrels. The National Park Service with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the American Bird Conservancy, is constructing a fence specifically designed to keep feral cats and mongooses out of important Hawaiian Petrel nesting habitat in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Once completed, the fence will protect an estimated 45 active petrel nesting sites and enclose 640 acres of prime nesting habitat.