Governor David Ige issued a fifth proclamation relating to the Maui County axis deer crisis, extending the disaster emergency relief period through Jan. 17, 2023.
State officials say that despite ongoing efforts, the axis deer population has grown to approximately 60,000 or more, which cannot be sustained by the environment in Maui County.
“The large number of axis deer has devastated pasture forage and vegetation that are already scarce because of continuing drought conditions. 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 state officials.
In September 2022, the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture opened an emergency loan program to assist farmers with the costs associated with the overpopulation of axis deer in Maui County. The low-interest emergency loans are being offered to provide some relief to farmers and ranchers in managing their losses and assisting with the cost of fencing and other mitigation measures.
The emergency relief period has been declared to 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.