Elected Officials Release Statement on Recent Deer Deaths on Moloka‘i

Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe) and Representative Lynn DeCoite (District 13 – Haʻikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nāhiku, Pāʻia, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Molokini) released a joint statement today regarding the recent deer deaths on Molokaʻi.

“Early on, we recognized the potential impact that this issue would have on our community. That’s why in 2019, we introduced HB265 to appropriate funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the management of the axis deer population and substantial reduction of these invasive species,” the lawmakers said noting that the bill died and no funding was appropriated, “due to opposition from certain Molokaʻi community members.”

“Molokaʻi is now faced with a severe public health crisis; a situation that we were trying to avoid back in 2019,” the two said.

State wildlife officials believe that severe drought conditions on Molokaʻi are to blame for recent instances of deer dying on the island. The conditions have reportedly led to the starvation and widespead death of thousands of deer on the island.

“The inability to control and properly manage these invasive species have led to an overpopulation of deer and further degredation of our watersheds and other natural resrouces,” according to Sen. English and Rep. DeCoite.

“We are working closely with Governor Ige, Maui Mayor Victorino and other state, county and community agencies to remove the carcasses, implement an effective management plan and get this situation under control,” they said.

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