Hunting in Paradise? The Death of a Wild Pig in Hawaii

By Cathy Goeggel

We found her within 50 feet of a public road, her face contorted in the death rictus of one who died an agonizing death. One of her teeth was embedded in her hoof as she had tried to chew off the snare. It was obvious that she had suffered intensely.

Hawaii’s dark side – the one that never shows up on travel posters or in glossy brochures – is the treatment of their so called “alien species.” These wild animals are routinely snared, trapped, speared, hunted with dogs, poisoned on the ground and from the air, burned, shot with bows and arrows, and gunned down from helicopters.

The snares used in Hawai’i now are cable, much thicker than the plain wire ones used in earlier years. They are still cheap, approximately $14 for 100 feet, and are rarely checked. They are simply deployed and left.

Animals who stumble into them will suffer for hours and even days before dying, and of course, the snares will catch any animal who has the misfortune to stumble into them: dogs, cats, deer, sheep, goats…The snares are set throughout the islands—on state and federal lands as well as private property. In fact, it is state law that the government can enter private property to seize and destroy plants and animals that are deemed invasive, alien, and dangerous either to the ecosystem or agriculture.
We ask that people concerned about this do two things:

Contact our governor and our tourism department and let them know that you will not consider Hawaii as a visitor destination until the snares are banned:

The Honorable Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawai’i
Phone: 808 586-0034
Fax: 808 586-0006

Hawaii Tourism Authority
Telephone: (808) 973-2255
Fax: (808) 973-2253

There is currently no director for the HI Tourism Authority- the last director was forced to resign after the discovery that he was using his state computer to forward racist and sexist e-mails.

After Cathy sent the article above, we asked her for more information about hunting in Hawaii. This is what she wrote: Hunting is allowed only in public hunting areas (state or federal property) or private lands (Nature Conservancy and other landowners). DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife has a dual role: to promote sport hunting and to protect native species. Their goal is not to eradicate all the pigs, but to remove them from sensitive areas (native plants) and where they are a nuisance to residents.

However, the pigs are very fecund and are very good at surviving, especially at high elevations. They usually stay in the mountains, coming close to human habitation when there is a shortage of water.

Some hunters may be releasing young pigs back into the forest, but that is illegal . We have no numbers on any of the DOFAW activities. I have attempted to access body counts, but have not been successful.

The local pig hunters, who hunt with dogs and use spears and knives, are known to ignore the regulations. They consider the pigs to be theirs, because of their Hawaiian heritage. They take great pride in bringing home a large pig—often splayed across the hood of their trucks. Since pig hunting is allowed twice a week on some popular hiking trails, there have been confrontations, and now the hunters are demanding that hiking be discontinued!

The local pig hunters do not like unattended snares, because they waste the meat. Some hunters use leg snares, but they usually stay by them, and dispatch the pig by knife.

The snared pigs die from infection, exposure, strangulation (if caught around their necks), or blood loss from stab wounds.
Cathy Goeggel is the Director of Animal Rights Hawaii.
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Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561