The Infrastructure and Transportation Committee will meet Monday at 9 a.m. to discuss potential solutions and updates regarding axis deer management in Maui County.
Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura, who chairs the committee, made the announcement saying, “Our main goal is to address overpopulation by finding ways to mitigate and control axis deer. We continue to see them moving into rural and residential areas, where they create safety hazards, destroy the food source of our livestock and cause environmental damage.”
In September 2021, the Maui Axis Deer Task Force was formed to address spiraling growth in the axis deer population. Sugimura said the task force’s work—in partnership with Mayor Michael Victorino, local farmers and ranchers and representatives from all levels of government—has contributed to the creation of funding sources and programs to address the environmental and economic issues caused by the overpopulation.
Sugimura said experts estimate 60,000 or more deer on Maui. In response to the deer crisis, Governor David Ige issued a fourth proclamation on Sept. 20, establishing another emergency relief period for the axis deer crisis in Maui County.
The Infrastructure and Transportation Committee is expecting to receive updates from the following county officials:
- Jo Ann Inamasu, director of the Office of Economic Development, on axis deer relief funding
- Curtis Jamison, grants management program manager for the Department of Housing and Human Concerns on grant updates for axis deer relief
- Weston Yap, Deputy Director of Agriculture, on the axis deer composting program.
The committee will also hear from Susie Thieman, executive director of Lōkahi Pacific, on the assistance program for axis deer relief, and Dr. Kyle Caires, animal scientist at the University of Hawaiʻi, on the Kula Agriculture Park and axis deer mitigation.
Members of the public can view the meeting on Akakū Channel 53 and provide testimony via the video conference link or phone number listed on the meeting agenda at MauiCounty.us/agendas.
In addition to receiving testimony in person, by phone and video conference, the committee will accept written testimony. For instructions on submitting written testimony, please visit http://mauicounty.us/testify/.