Disaster relief period declared for Maui’s axis deer crisis as population grows to 60,000+

Moloka‘i axis deer. (Dec. 9, 2021) PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi

Governor David Ige issued a second proclamation, establishing another emergency relief period for the axis deer crisis in Maui County.

Despite ongoing efforts, the axis deer population has grown to approximately 60,000 or more, which cannot be sustained by the environment on Maui, according to Gov Ige.

“The large number of deer has devastated pasture forage and vegetation that are already scarce because of continuing drought conditions,” according to a news release announcing the new proclamation. “The axis deer are migrating into agricultural and developed areas, seeking food and water, and potentially spreading disease in the environment. Increasing numbers are also foraging in urbanized areas.”

According to the governor, the emergency relief period will enable the state and county to continue taking measures to reduce and control axis deer populations and to implement management strategies.

This includes corralling of axis deer, culling of the deer to sustainable levels, clearing vegetation along fence lines, and erecting and/or reinforcing fence lines to keep axis deer away from roadways, airports, and runways.

The second proclamation relating to axis deer continues through July 22, 2022.

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