Governor Josh Green, M.D. issued a sixth emergency proclamation to provide additional relief to Maui County in its ongoing axis deer crisis.
State officials report the axis deer population has ballooned to 60,000 or more, saying the natural resources of Maui County cannot sustain the population growth.
“The deer have devastated pastoral forage land and vegetation already scarce due to ongoing drought conditions. The invasive deer are migrating into agricultural areas and developed neighborhoods in search of food and water, creating the potential of spreading disease around the environment. There are increasing reports that deer are foraging in urbanized areas,” according to a state press release.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture opened an emergency loan program in 2022, to help farmers with costs associated with the overpopulation of axis deer in Maui County. The low-interest emergency loans offer farmers and ranchers at least some relief toward mitigating losses and assisting with the cost of fencing and other preventive measures.
Gov. Green has extended the emergency relief period to enable the state and the County of Maui to continue taking steps to reduce and control axis deer populations and implement management strategies.
Measures may include corralling of axis deer, culling of deer to sustainable levels, clearing vegetation along fence lines and constructing or reinforcing fence lines to protect roadways, airports and runways from axis deer incursions.
This sixth emergency proclamation extends disaster relief through March 18, 2023, unless it is terminated or is superseded by a separate proclamation.