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An Update on Zoe the “Blonde Zebra” on the Big Island of Hawaii

So there has been a lot of chatter on Facebook and Twitter about “blonde zebras” in the past few weeks. Here is what we know. Up until Zoe was 10 (she now is about to be 14) she was the only one alive on earth. There is now a related animal, caught by the same animal broker, in Ohio at a roadside safari park.

Zoe

Zoe the “Blonde Zebra”. Click to enlarge

There are 5 more at a private park in South Africa near Kenya. This is the same are where the Hunt brothers caught Zoe’s mother years ago. The private park was started by the same Hunt family. The zebra herd (about 50 animals) is very inbred and they are deliberately breeding the same line to get blonds. Many are pinker muzzled and with very watered down pale eyes.

Unlike Zoe who has bold gold stripes and really blue eyes. Anyway that is the scoop on all we know and can verify. Thanks everyone for your input. Come visit Zoe and all the rest of the gang. Please share her image but post that she lives at Three Ring Ranch in Kona HI.

Big Island Wildlife Club Invites the Public to It’s First Meetup

Big Island Wildlife Club will be holding it’s first meetup on December 7th from 12 noon until 2pm.

Wildlife Club Meetup

Meeting will be held at the Coconut Island Pavilion, meeting to start at noon with a picnic potluck to follow. All ages welcome, especially keiki!  We will be doing a couple activities including a chance to draw/color your favorite animal.

“Like” us on fb to stay up to date on all our activities :  https://www.facebook.com/BigIslandWildlifeClub, this event is FREE just bring smiles and good vibes!

For more information email stacey.hwf@gmail.com.

Public Invited to Opening Ceremony of Mountain View Gym and Park’s New Children’s Playground

Mayor Billy Kenoi, Puna Councilman Zendo Kern, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park invite the public to an opening ceremony for the new children’s playground at A.J. Watt Gym in Mountain View.

Mt. View Park

Mt. View Gym and Park new playground equipment

Festivities will start at 2 p.m. Friday, November 22, at the Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School campus located next to the gym.

Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park will hold drawings for donated prizes.

Covering 2,300 square feet, the new playground is comprised of two modular-design play areas designed for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. A climbing wall, stairs, platforms, a protective roof and five slides, including a tunnel slide, are among the features. A special synthetic turf and impact-absorbing layer comprise the safety surface installed under the playground.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

MADD Awards Five Big Island Officers

At their annual Law Enforcement Awards, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaiʻi and Big Island Toyota honored Big Island police officers Monday (November 18) for their outstanding efforts and dedication to preventing impaired driving and reducing underage drinking. The awards were presented at a ceremony at The Luau House in Hilo.

Left to right: Officers Keith Nacis, Nicholas McDaniel, Christopher Kapua-Allison, Shea Nactor and Sergeant Christopher Gali.

Left to right: Officers Keith Nacis, Nicholas McDaniel, Christopher Kapua-Allison, Shea Nactor and Sergeant Christopher Gali.

During the presentation, the following officers were honored for the following number of arrests during 2012:

  • Officer Keith Nacis, Traffic Enforcement Unit, Area I, 76
  • Officer Shea Nactor, Puna patrol, 27
  • Officer Nicholas McDaniel, Kona patrol, 21
  • The “Top Cop” award went to Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison of South Hilo patrol with 104 arrests.
  • Additionally, Sergeant Christopher Gali of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, Area I, was awarded the Big Island Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Vessel Missing Since October Located Adrift in Pacific, Unmanned

The Coast Guard located and boarded a derelict sailing vessel Friday nearly 1,600 miles west of Oahu that was first reported missing from Honolulu in early October.

The Coast Guard asks for assistance in locating 60-year-old Greg Stephanoff last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor on his 42-foot Catalina sloop, "C:DRIVE."

The Coast Guard has found the “C:Drive: last seen departing Ala Wai boat harbor in October.”

Greg Stephanoff  departed Ala Wai boat harbor on a possible voyage to Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai Oct. 2, 2013. A concerned friend notified the Coast Guard Oct. 4 of Stephanoff’s departure from the harbor and that he hadn’t heard from him for two days.

Greg Stephanoff

Greg Stephanoff

The Coast Guard broadcast a notice to mariners via VHF Channel 16, contacted harbor masters, marinas and other known locations Stephanoff frequented requesting information on his whereabouts. Without any new information, the Coast Guard suspended the search Oct. 15 pending further developments.

On Nov. 7, crewmembers aboard the container ship Manukai notified the Coast Guard that they had come across what appeared to be a derelict sailing vessel named the C:Drive approximately 1,300 miles west of Oahu.  The container ship attempted to communicate with the vessel on VHF channel 16 and made several blasts on the ship’s whistle in an attempt to contact anyone aboard. No one was observed aboard and the Manukai continued its course having no means of boarding.

An HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew was launched from Air Station Barbers Point and the fishing vessel Wakatake Maru was redirected to rendezvous with C:Drive. The Wakatake Maru crewmembers located the C:Drive, but weather conditions made boarding the vessel unsafe.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kukui, a 225-foot buoy tender home ported in Honolulu, was dispatched to locate and board the sailing vessel. The transit from Honolulu to C:Drive’s last know position took four days.

The crew of the Kukui located the C:Drive and conducted a boarding at 3:30 p.m. Friday. They discovered no one aboard and  no indication of what may have happened. The vessel was marked with paint by the boarding team and remains adrift. A GPS and personal effects were removed from the vessel to possibly assertain what transpired during the month the vessel was adrift.

For the previous release and images regarding C:Drive, visit: http://www.d14.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1924025/.

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

Critical Time at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for Nēnē

Visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park now through April could get lucky and spot pairs of the endemic Hawaiian goose, or nēnē, flying overhead or grazing with goslings.

Click to view PSA

Click to view PSA

While nēnē are present in the park year-round, this seasonal window is their breeding and nesting time, and is vital for their survival.

Currently, female nēnē are focused on building up their fat reserves in order to lay eggs and survive the 30-day incubation period.  A few females have already started to nest in the park, and their mates are dutifully standing guard.  Because visitors can unknowingly disturb nesting nēnē, the park may temporarily close certain areas to give nēnē families a break from human interference.

“Nēnē are most vulnerable to vehicles this time of year.  They are focused on eating and could be out foraging from dawn to dusk.  They blend in with their surroundings, and in low-light periods, they are especially hard for motorists to spot,” said Kathleen Misajon, Nēnē Recovery Project manager.  

The park has posted nēnē crossing signs that highlight key roadside areas that nēnē use. These include sections of Highway 11, Crater Rim Drive, and Chain of Craters Road. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nēnē crossing areas, and to obey posted speed limits.  

Nēnē are endangered, and in the mid-1940s, only 50 birds remained.  Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s.  The Nēnē Recovery Program continues today, and more than 200 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. As many as 2,000 or more nēnē exist statewide.

“We’ve had a great deal of success protecting nēnē and maintaining the population in the park,” said Misajon. “But it is imperative that humans keep a respectful distance from the geese, especially during this sensitive time.”  

Visit http://www.nps.gov/havo/photosmultimedia/nene_psa.htm for more information. To report nēnē on the road in the park, call 808-985-6001. Outside the park, call 808-974-4221.

EPA Awards Over $30 Million to the Pacific Territories for Environmental Protection

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded over $30 million as part of a yearly program that provides grants to Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa for use in continuing environmental protection work and for improvements to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

EPA LOGO“EPA’s funding enables the islands to advance their goals in the pursuit of clean air, water and land,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “As one example, the investment made in leak detection projects in all three territories has dramatically reduced drinking water losses, and saved over $1 million in energy costs.”

Guam EPA will be receiving $3.2 million, CNMI DEQ will be receiving $1.7 million, and the American Samoa EPA $1.8 million to support the operations of each environmental agency. The work done by the agencies include inspections, monitoring the safety of beaches and drinking water, permit writing, enforcement and other facets of their environmental protection programs.

Additionally, EPA provides drinking water and wastewater construction grants to improve the water supplies in each of the territories. The Guam Waterworks Authority will be receiving $8.2 million, CNMI’s Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will be receiving $6.9 million, and the American Samoa Power Authority $8.3 million.

Accomplishment highlights from previous funding include:

  • Improvements to the drinking water system in all three territories, including improved chlorination in Guam, increased water storage in CNMI, and an ongoing extension of the central system in American Samoa to remote villages.
  • EPA funding has contributed to the increased drinking water availability in Saipan, where 95% of the population now has access to 24-hour water (up from 75% in 2009).
  • Improvements to the wastewater collection and treatment systems in all three territories, including rehabilitation of a treatment plant in Saipan, improvements to the collection infrastructure in Guam, and ongoing extension of sewer lines in American Samoa.
  • EPA has funded the replacement of older wastewater pumps with newer energy efficient pumps and controls, saving the utilities hundreds of thousands of dollars in power bills in all three territories.

Big Island Police Identify Trucker Who Died Friday in Tractor/Tanker Crash

A 41-year-old man died Friday afternoon (November 15), in a single tractor/tanker crash in South Kohala. He was identified as Amos K. Agliam of Hilo.

Amos Agliam

Amos Agliam

Around 2:04 p.m., a 2003 Kenworth tractor pulling a tanker trailer, which was loaded with 8,402 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel, was traveling west down a steep grade on Highway 19 (Kawaihae Road) near the 64-mile marker when it pulled onto the right paved shoulder, continued onto the unpaved shoulder and collided with a large mound of dirt and debris. (It was reported that the vehicle’s brakes were smoking.) The trailer broke loose, crushing the cab and rolling onto its right side.

The tanker was punctured, spilling between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Agliam died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death. Alcohol and speed are not considered factors in this collision.

Kawaihae Road was closed to all traffic at 2: 26 p.m. It reopened at 8:42 p.m.

Police ask that anyone who witnessed the collision call Officer Thomas Koyangi at 326-4646, extension 229.

This is the 24th fatality this year compared with 36 at this time last year.