Broadcast Audubon

Axis Deer and Biodiversity in Hawaii

According to the American Bird Conservancy, a coalition of resource managers on Hawai‘i Island have confirmed the presence of a new threat to the island’s biodiversity – introduced axis deer – in the areas of Kohala, Ka‘u, Kona, and Mauna Kea.

axis_deer_wikipedia_commons_u.jpgThe deer, which can reach up to 250 lbs. were first introduced to Moloka‘i and O‘ahu in 1868, Lana‘i in 1920, and Maui in 1959.  Historically, they were not introduced to the island of Hawai‘i, and their confirmed presence on that island has grave implications for the island’s farmers and ranchers, public health, watersheds, and native ecosystems and species.  Axis deer have caused extensive problems on Maui where more than 12,000 roam, wandering onto ranch land and farmland, and into urban areas resulting in millions of dollars in damages to crops, trees and bird habitat.

A joint effort is now underway between the Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), federal natural resource management agencies, ranchers, farmers, private landowners, and concerned citizens to develop and implement a strong, swift action to protect the island.  BIISC is working with trackers and using game cameras to survey and confirm locations of these animals across the island and to ultimately remove them.

Conservation agencies are particularly concerned about the impact to native ecosystems and the numerous threatened and endangered species they contain. If deer become established, existing conservation exclosure fences on the island will have to be raised to eight feet.

George Wallace, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President for Oceans and Islands states, “I hope that this problem can be solved before we have to retrofit more than 300 miles of fences as that will cost tens of millions of dollars and jeopardize years of work to rid ungulates from several areas of critical importance for birds.

For example, the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, a key area for the endangered Akiapōlā'au, Ākepa, and Hawai‘i Creeper, has been largely cleared of feral pigs, making large-scale reforestation possible. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was a national leader in using fences to remove goats to protect their endangered plants and animals. DOFAW is currently constructing a fence around Palila Critical Habitat on Mauna Kea with the objective of eradicating mouflon-sheep hybrids that severely damage the māmane forests on which Palila depend. In all these cases, the establishment of axis deer will have a substantial negative impact on conservation efforts.

“These new deer on the Big Island are apparently the result of a deliberate inter-island introduction. We need to do a better job of public education about the impacts of alien species, especially to Hawai‘i’s native birds and plants.  Removing introduced species can be both terribly costly and very inefficient,” said Wallace.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization which conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Simple Actions Go a Long Way

As our daily lives seem busier than ever, most of us can get overwhelmed by being told of changes that we can make in the way we live in our daily environments.  If each person just changed a few things, we would all make a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions and excess waste.  We can all collectively help produce a change in the way that many large companies do business. We have seen it with organic produce and other more natural organic groceries. Ten years ago we did not see as much organic produce and other organic, healthier groceries available in the larger grocery chain stores.  People have demanded healthier options. The more options that are available, the more affordable and accessible these options become, but try not to get burned out by it all... The problem with 'Green Fatigue; What is it?

Fewer Americans are integrating green behavior such as water conservation, composting, recycling electronics and buying fuel efficient cars, according to a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive.
Harris Interactive conducted a poll of 2,352 U.S. adults and found:

  • 57 percent of Americans are trying to use less water, down from 60 percent in 2009.
  • 15 percent of Americans are buying organic products, down from 17 percent a year ago.
  • 30 percent are buying Energy Star appliances, down from 36 percent a year ago.
  • 32 percent are donating or recycling electronics, down from 41 percent a year ago.
  • 20 percent are installing a low-flow showerhead or toilet, down from 25 percent a year ago.
  • 8 percent are buying a hybrid or more fuel efficient car, down from 13 percent in 2009

With those results, it’s worth pondering a few reasons why there’s a drop-off. Here are a few theories worth pondering:

  • Greenwashing. Is there a product that isn’t green these days. When every manufacturer or service provider is pitching green as a marketing pitch, Americans tune out. Simply put, it’s green overload - we've all become green fatigued!
  • Return on being green. Money is tight and some green behaviors—notably purchasing organic products—are more expensive.
  • The global warming research flap. We’re not going to get into the merits of the science behind global warming, but there has been enough controversy to make folks tune out.
  • We’re already green. One key item in the Harris Poll is that 20 percent of U.S. adults now see themselves as conservationists, up from 17 percent in 2009. Eighteen percent of Americans consider themselves green, up from 13 percent a year ago.    

More on these results:




References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:
Audubon Lifestyles 
The International Sustainability Council 

The Cornell Lab

Small Business Trends              

Sanford Golf Design

Scotland Yards Golf Club


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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

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