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Thursday, July 23, 2009

*STATUS* Why Won't the DLNR Take Care of the Donkeys?

While the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Wildlife and Fisheries Management Division technically can take responsibility for feral animals, they cannot help us with our mission. (See "About" to the right of this page.) Our mission includes concern "about the safety of both people and donkeys."

Contact with DLNR was made by other Malama Waikoloa Nightingales stakeholders, including the County of Hawaii, where they received a run-around. ("The person who does that is new so we can't send him out or let you talk to him." "New" meant several months. "We don't have enough money."

We do get the sense that they care, though, and that they are happy we are working on the problem. They don't want to kill DONKEYS.

We did not invite DLNR to solve the problem because DLNR's mission is to protect native species. If species were threatened, the first choice of DLNR has historically been a public hunt, followed by an aerial slaughter.

The DLNR's last method of choice is fencing. Fencing IN the endangered species, fencing OUT the feral animals. Thanks to the efforts of the Waikoloa Village Outdoor Circle, several of Waikoloa's endangered trees on WVA property are protected from goats, by fencing. (Mahalo, WVOC!)

DLNR usually does not publicize their events except for public hunts. For example, they killed feral animals (pigs and goats) on Mauna Kea earlier this year, with no notice to the public. Typically they leave the animals in place to rot.

Not to raise undue alarm about public safety, given the proximity of homes and unexploded ordinance, the DLNR would not likely dispose of the donkeys by hunting. Similarly, given the proximity to homes, they would not likely leave the carcasses to rot (as they have done after aerial hunts of cattle). However, Mamalahoa Waikoloa Nightingales thinks it unlikely DLNR would announce to the general public exactly what is going on.

Monday, July 20, 2009

For Your Own Safety, Please Don't Harrass the Donkeys

While donkeys are not particularly aggressive, they will respond if they feel threatened. Jennies (female donkeys) are especially protective of their young. Donkeys may warn you with hissing, baring of teeth and stomping when they want you to back off. Donkeys have a very powerful kick that could definitely cause serious injury, so don't provoke them.

Remember, animals respond to perceived threats, which may not be actual threats. Keep your pets and children within fenced areas of your yard.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Donkey Myth: Our Donkeys are Kona Nightingales

Here is a video from Big Island Vieo News of Kona Nightingales in the Hilo zoo; you can observe they are smaller and fuzzier than the donkeys that call Waikoloa home. The Kona donkeys would be called a "burro" in many parts of the world.

Lots of people tell me that the donkeys on the road are a living heritage and must be preserved because they are Kona Nightingales.

Well, these Waikoloa donkeys are living, do have heritage, and are worthy of our care and concern. They just aren't "Kona Nightingales."

Kona Nightingales have a historical connection to Kona coffee farms. Many families owned one or more. Once there were roads and people had some money for cars or trucks, donkeys were released to fend for themselves, freeing their owners from the responsibility of providing food and water.