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Friday, November 19, 2010

45 Attend Waikoloa Community Donkey Forum

Forty-five residents and neighbors attended a lively Donkey Forum at the Waikoloa Community Church November 17. There was lots of progress reported on humane management of the herds, to relieve the stress on donkeys, residents, and drivers.

First: see this video by Big Island Video News to catch the excitement!

Waimea Veterinarian Dr. Brady Bergin arrived straight from a full day of donkey duties, in his scrubs, to describe the current efforts to capture, castrate, and re-home donkeys. About 100 have been adopted to date. Dr. Bergin is working with a rancher above Waikoloa right now. Plans are to expand efforts in and around Waikoloa Village. Dr. Bergin and his amazing team are in the process of approving adoption applications in preparation for re-homing donekys.

Inga Gibson of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) had good news, as well. HSUS is providing financial support and soliciting donations for donkey. A search is under way for a secure rancing corral in our area to be used as a temporary holding site for the trapped donkeys. This would allow the gathering of a large number of donkeys so the HSUS Veterinary Medical Association can fly in a team to help Dr. Bergin castrate a larger numbers of males more efficiently. If you know of such a site, please call Aina Hou Animal Hospital at 989-6149.
People can donate via a restricted and dedicated account specifically at  Donors may also drop off a check at any Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS) shelters. (Kona, Waimea and Keaau.) Make checks payable HIHS, with a note on the check, “Waikoloa Donkeys”.

Click to download a donkey adoption application. We need adopters pre-approved, after large castration clinics, the donkeys can be quickly re-homed.

See the new "How to Help" page on this blog for many other needs.

HPD Community Policing Officer Paul Bugado asked attendees not to water donkeys in their yards, because it draws ever more donkeys into Waikoloa Village. Dr. Bergin and Inga confirmed the donkeys do have water sources available.

Anika Glass thanked HPD for its commitment to put up occasional electronic signage on Waikoloa Road. Mahalo also to Hawaii County Public Works for testing “Strieter-lites” near the 7 Mile Marker of Waikoloa Road. “Strieter-lites” may help mitigate the appearance of donkeys on Waikoloa Road. (See

Real progress is being made on humanely managing our Waikoloa donkeys and preventing any donkey crisis that might be in our future. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

KITV's Catherine Cruz Reports on Waikoloa Donkeys

A big mahalo to Catherine Cruz and her team from KITV who came over and taped and created a three-part show on our feral Waikoloa Donkeys. The three segments are linked below. I don't know how long they will remain posted by KITV.
Kris Kosa‐Correia, Waikoloa School Principal, is featured, along with the rancher who is working with us, Dr. Brady Bergin, and Inga Gibson, USHS. There is wonderful footage of the donkeys up close and accurate reporting. Take a look.

KITV Waikoloa Donkeys 1
KITV Waikoloa Donkeys 2
KITV Waikoloa Donkeys 3.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Waikoloa Donkey Community Forum November 17

Join Dr. Brady Bergin (Aina Hou Vet Hospital), Anika Glass (Malama Waikoloa Nightingales), Inga Gibson (The Humane Society of the United States), local animal protection organizations and concerned residents for a discussion and update on the Waikoloa Donkey herd and continuing plans for their humane management. Share your concerns and suggestions and learn how to get involved in compassionately and effectively managing these iconic Hawaii Island equines.

Things are really humming along, come learn the latest!

When: Wednesday, November 17th, 6:30pm
Where: Waikoloa Community Church, 68-3625 Paniolo Avenue
Contact: Anika Glass at

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Electronic Signage Approved!

We are on a roll here!

Police Chief Kubojiri has confirmed that the Hawaii County Police Department will put up occasional flashing signage on Waikoloa Road. In fact, friends of Malama Waikoloa Nightingales have reported seeing the sign already. Here is an earlier post on this subject.

The HPD have been responsive and very professional in meeting requests from South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee for increased reporting on donkey-on-the-road calls and electronic signage. Meanwhile, the Public Works folks will have the test of Streiter lites set up next month. Mahalo County of Hawaii.

Friday, October 15, 2010

HPD Now Reporting Donkey Statistics

Hawaii Police Department has responded to our request and started reporting  to the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee calls about donkeys on the roadways and any accidents related to donkeys.

HPD is very responsive to your calls and takes action on them. They can't help serve you unless you report sightings of donkeys on or by the roadway.

See a Donkey on the Road? Call Police Dispatch 935-3311. Click for Details.

In July and August, there were a dozen calls for service relating to donkeys on Waikoloa Road. Details were provided. They were between the 6 and 9 Mile Markers. Sometimes officers were able to find the donkeys and round them up, protecting drivers and donkeys from potential accidents. Calls were made during both daylight and nighttime hours. But they were all morning or evening, not noon nor midnight.

There were no reports of accidents.

Our community policing officer is out there on the road trying to herd donkeys on our behalf, so MWN salutes his efforts!

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Don't be Cruel"

Here is the West Hawaii Humane Society's outstanding response to the recent article in the Star Advertiser, pointing out the treatment by DLNR and USDA of feral animals in Hawaii. Malama Waikoloa Nightingales, you, are the local community members to whom she refers. Headline is a link to original.

Don't be cruel to feral donkeys

For those aware of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' cruel and wasteful aerial hunt of cattle in Hualalai last year, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service's killing of thousands of animals in Hawaii each year, it's encouraging to see community members, veterinarians and the Humane Society working together to pursue humane and effective options to control the feral donkey population ("Donkey problems increasing," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 12).
Cruel, inefficient and archaic methods of control have no place in a compassionate society, especially when progressive, non-lethal means are available.
The Waikoloa donkeys were introduced by humans to serve humans -- we therefore have a responsibility to humanely manage their populations.
Ginger Towle
President, West Hawaii Humane Society

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Donkey Re-homing Begins

Now that WVA has decided it does not want help castrating male donkeys (before they are re-located) or in finding homes for them, we've been able to move forward quickly with plans to re-home about 40 donkeys from other property near Waikoloa. The long wait is over and we are thrilled to be moving ahead. Other people are eager for help with the donkeys on their land.

WVA has decided to step back from it's efforts to relocate donkeys and rely on public pressure to get someone else to do it. It relocated either 40 or 80 or some other number of donkeys without castrating the males, despite several offers of free service. This could lead to the spread of feral donkeys on the Island at some point in the future.

WVA, of which many of us are members, is worried about liability  issues. The concern: If WVA is doing something to help solve the donkey problem, will it be liable if someone is hurt by a donkey? Since WVA owns the donkeys on its property, it seems like NOT doing something would open WVA to even more liability, but I'm not the attorney!

The great team of veterinarians, Humane Society of the United States and all of us at Malama Waikoloa Nightingales are working on the short and long term plans to get a handle on the donkey population. Meanwhile, we are re-homing some donkeys to carefully vetted owners.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

County to Test Strieter Lites Along Waikoloa Road

Public Works will go ahead with a test of Strieter lites along Waikoloa Road. See here and here.

SKTSC Requests Electronic Signage from HPD

At the last meeting of the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee (SKTSC), it was approved to request the Hawaii Police Department HPD to investigate use of occasional electronic signage along Waikoloa Road to remind us of possible donkey presence. (Recall the Public Works Department determined they didn't have enough signs.) SKTSC President Mike Price has sent the letter.

SKTSC is also asking for more detailed reporting of donkey-related traffic incidents, to develop a baseline over the long term to see if various measures are effective.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Star Advertiser Puts Waikoloa Donkeys in the News

Reasonably accurate, good photo by Brady Bergin, and the reporter contacted a lot of people, including two from Waikoloa. Read the article.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Update on Electronic Signage and Strieter Lites

Public Works, Traffic Division has passed on using electronic signage, as they don't have enough of them. They've referred the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee (SKTSC) to the Hawaii Police Department (HPD).

Public Works did look at the 20 Strieter Lites they ordered for testing. They don't look too promising, but we may find a place along the road to test them.

Tuesday, September 14th, SKTSC will be discussing a request to the HPD for signage.

On a new topic, SKTSC will also discuss a request for more detailed monthly reporting on donkey related accidents and calls for service (reports of donkeys on the road.) This will help develop a baseline for donkeys on the road.

Update 11/15/2010: They've been tested in the County yard and now places for installation have been marked out near the 7 MM.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Karen Clarkson on Waikoloa Donkeys

I've been meaning to give a shout out to Karen of Clark Realty for her excellent blog post about the presentation at the Hawaii Horse Expo. And the adorable photo is a plus.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Waikoloa Donkeys on Humane Society of U.S. Website

Inga Gibson of the United States Humane Society (USHS) has written an article and posted photos about Waikoloa Donkeys based on the USHS visit to Waikoloa for the Horse Expo and community meetings. Please check it out! We think the work of the USHS is going to lead to a significant improvement in conditions for the donkeys, their safety and human safety, in the long term.

The photo of two donkeys along the side of Waikoloa Road, outside of fences, taken last month by an MWN member.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Donkeys in the VIDEO News!

Look at this great video news story by Dave Corrigan of Big Island Video News. Thoughtful interviews with Keith Dane, HSUS Equine Director, and Dr. Brady Bergin of Waimea about hope for our donkeys. Big Island Video News covers many Kohala topics and is found at and also has regular showings on Na Leo o Hawaii public access television. Bookmark it!

VIDEO: Waikoloa donkeys discussed at Hawaii Horse Expo

Today's North Hawaii News has an excellent article on last Saturday's community meeting with Waikoloa Village Association, United States Humane Society, and Dr. Brady Bergin. On news stands now. Check out the donkey dos and donkey don'ts.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Community Meeting on Donkeys a Great Success!

The Donkey Round Table at the WVA Conference room was well attended. We ran out of chairs! On a Saturday night! I'll count chairs to see how many were in attendance, and add 15.

The audience represented every view point about donkeys I can imagine exists. That was a very good thing.

A large number of homeowners directly affected by donkeys on their properties were also involved and great participants.

I am very happy to report:

The WVA will very likely support paying for water to keep a large number of donkeys from descending into the Village while it continues its efforts to capture and re-home the ones currently around the village. They may also help defray costs of medicines used to neuter male donkeys that are re-homed, so we are not just moving the problem around. These costs are very moderate, a tiny fraction of the money the WVA had to spend on one fence to keep donkeys off the golf course. There were pros and cons expressed on this; I think most people are in agreement with this general plan.

Please mention your support for these plans to a WVA Board Member. This will help ensure a positive outcome.  You can reach the WVA Board Members by phone or by email to and asking it to be forwarded to all or certain Board Members.

Dr. Brady Bergin is willing to perform services as needed on a volunteer basis, and has other vets lined up to also pitch in. The Humane Society of the United States (USHS) can also send in a team, if we need one.

Both Dr. Bergin and the HSUS are very optimistic about mid and long term plans to manage the herds at a sustainable level. Keith Dane, their National Equine Director stepped up to the plate with many ideas they will explore. HSUS have excellent contacts and resources to bring to help in the effort of humanely keep the donkey population from growing so fast. They are actively working on these very issues today, making a technical presentation at the Horse Expo in Waikoloa today, Sunday, to gain interest and support for the ideas they have.

The time will come when more will be needed of us, but nothing we can't do. Right now, just be grateful! WVA members, please let the Board know of your support.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Donkey Meeting with USHS Waikoloa Saturday Aug. 21 at 6 PM

Donkey Poster August 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hawaii Horse Expo in Waikoloa August 20 - 22

The US Humane Society is bringing national equine experts to the Hawaii Horse Expo to share ideas with other Expo participants that address the high rate of grown of the donkey herds near Waikoloa. They hope to help us engage local participants in the on-going efforts to mitigate donkey problems, humanely. The expanding size of the herds is one reason donkeys still turn up on Waikoloa Road.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


If you live near Waikoloa, you know UXO means unexploded ordinance. We are loaded with it. I'm sure a few donkeys have encountered it. Just wanted to note that we made contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the possibility of needing to put volunteers in an area to work with the donkey herds. (USACE is in charge of the projects to remove ordinance from the old Waikoloa Maneuver Area.) Nothing is set. Just trying to think of everything.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

County Considering "Strieter-Lites" for Waikoloa Road

A civil engineer from the County Traffic Division came out and, with MWN memebers, took a look at an area around the S curve that might serve as a test for something called Strieter-Lites. For now they have ordered just a few to "take a look at" and then determine if a test will be set up. These devices go along the roadside and are triggered by headlights to emit a pattern of red light that appears to be moving, that only the animals will see, not drivers. Whether or not it will work for donkeys is unknown. In some places, it has worked for moose, elk, and deer. Donkeys do become used to lighting as a deterrent, so we will have to see. Also, note, they only will work at night, dawn, and dusk when people hopefully have their headlights on. And if a donkey is already on the road...

I am encouraged by this interest in something new by the County.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to ask about the electronic warning signs for us humans. So far all I've heard is unofficial and along the lines of "they are all broken."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Site Meeting with County Traffic Department

We have a meeting set up with the County for next week to inspect the area along the S curve. They are helping us look for ways to keep donkeys off the road...and make drivers more aware of donkeys.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Awaiting Word from the County Public Works re: Electronic Signage

We've been following up on the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee request to Director Warren Lee to investigate the occasional use of electronic signage to alert drivers of possible donkeys on the road. See the May 12th post for the SKTSC letter to the County.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Donkeys in Your Yard? Donkeys in the Road, Too. Please Don't Provide Water!

Watering donkeys near your property draws more donkeys around the Village and making that many more of them down the hill, where there is no fencing. That donkey warning sign on Waikoloa Rd, just makai of Paniolo is there because donkeys have been sighted in that area for some time. They are down around the Fire Department, too.

Plus providing water to them near your yard is keeping them away from the safe capture point where donkeys are captured and removed from the Village. That is the solution. Let it work.

Please see previous posts on the subject of "water".

Please, pass this word around: don't water the donkeys. The donkeys don't need it and while it might keep them out areas of your yard, it has delayed the WVA's relocation efforts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Donkeys on the Roads

There are definitely donkeys on the road, right now. We've had reports of from 2 to 6 that are out of fencing. Currently most of the sightings are at (what would be) the 7 mile marker on Waikoloa Road. Right at sunset is prime time, followed by late into the night. They are on either side of the road. Of course, they can be anywhere at anytime, so please remember DRIVE LIKE THERE MIGHT BE A DONKEY STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU, RIGHT AROUND THE NEXT CURVE. Or, maybe that car in front of you might find a donkey the hard way.

Monday, May 31, 2010

US Humane Society Still Takes Interest

We are happy to say we are having a conference call on Tuesday morning with representatives from the U.S.H.S. about ways to take care of our donkeys and keep them out of harms way. There is a lot to do to find humane ways of herd management, and having their assistance is the best there is.

Also I had a chance to speak briefly with Billy Kenoi, our Mayor, plus Cindy Evans, our State Rep., and Pete Hoffmann, our County Council Rep and brought them up to date on the status of donkeys on Waikoloa Road. They remain concerned and interested.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Multiple Sightings of One and Two Donkeys on Waikoloa Road

They are also on the "Power Line Road" behind the Waikoloa Hills Condominiums, from where they have direct access to the road. Be especially careful at the entire length of the S curve. Keep an eye on cars ahead and behind you, too, so you can avoid a multi-vehicle crash. They are most often on the road at night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What to Do When You See a Donkey on the Road

Call Police Dispatch
Don't Hit It!

As of last night there is a donkey on Waikoloa Road at the upper part of the S Curve just above the Village.

Captain Sanborn has confirmed that you can call Hawaii County Police Dispatch when you see a donkey on or by the road. They will send out an officer to try to locate the donkey, so give the clearest directions possible. (The S Curve is near the 7 mile marker. The bottom of the S Curve is "just above the stables.")

If they can find the donkey, they will get a rancher to come take it to the Hawaii Island Humane Society. It's hard to find a donkey in the dark; The Police will do their best.

Do not call 911, Call 935-3311 Please don't call them when you see the donkeys in your yard or behind fencing.

Working With County of Hawaii

The South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee has asked Public Works to develop a procedure whereby the County's flashing traffic warning signs could be occasionally placed along Waikoloa Road, especially at the S curve above the Village, as a reminder to ourselves that there may be donkeys ahead. After a while, the posted signage becomes "invisible" to those of us who regularly traverse that section of road. I hope to have an update on the status of this by next month.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Donkeys are Healthy!

Great News: a Malama Waikoloa Nightingales member has seen the donkeys captured by the WVA in their new home and they look great! They like it there, too. Right now their water worries are over.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Donkey Relocation Update

Jim Whillock has provided an update to Waikoloa Village Association (WVA) members on the donkeys the WVA is capturing and relocating in order to keep them out of people's yards. Members of Malama Waikoloa Nightingales have been able to verify the methods of trapping and movement are humane, and that the place the donkeys are being taken is a good place. This will help reduce the frequency of donkeys on lower Waikoloa Road.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

100 Donkeys

Yesterday, March 21, 2010, one of the donkey herds, about 100 donkeys, was grazing within fencing, near Waikoloa Road from just above the stables to the just above the top of the S curve. They looked to be in good shape. Some Jennies were pregnant. There was evidence of donkey presence along the edge of the road, but only in one place.
The land above this between about the 10 and 11 mile marker is currently being used for cattle grazing. That property was fenced about a year ago.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Donkey Relocation Update

The Waikoloa Village Association Manager reports that some donkeys around Waikoloa have been moved to fenced areas mauka. Plans are to capture "a larger part of the herd". At that point they will be moved to a place I am looking in to. It is probably fine. Still checking.

A Second Sighting on Waikoloa Road.

We have a second reliable report of a donkey outside fencing, standing IN THE ROAD, on Waikoloa Road, just above the 8 mile marker. It was in the evening and there was one donkey visible.

March Update:
This was possibly the donkey that was last reported to us as a carcass in the road. So sad.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Please continue to contact us if you see donkeys outside of fenced areas near the road.

There has been a reliable report of at least one donkey by the side of the road above the stable and in the S curve area. This was at dusk, evening. Stay Alert.

We know they are several locations within the Village. If/when donkeys are captured and moved from the Village area, it will be helpful to know at what addresses they remain. The addresses will not be posted but shared with those who might help continue efforts by the WVA.

Donkey Capture Status

None of the donkeys around Waikoloa Village have been trapped yet, although the arrangement to lure them in the corral is in place. After they are trapped they are to be moved to a safe location and received care. We're in the process of double checking this is a good future for the donkeys, we think it will be.

Once successful, this will reduce (not eliminate) the threat of donkeys on lower Waikoloa Road.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Donkey Water Needs

For the first time in several years, I do think the donkeys are having a hard time finding good water. It is dry from the top to the bottom of Waikoloa Road. Nevertheless, DON'T WATER THE DONKEYS IN YOUR YARD OR NEAR YOUR PROPERTY! It just draws them into the Village. The paucity of water also limits new fountain grass for grazing.

Long term plans, have to factor in the water situation as well as the acreage to determine about how many donkeys the area can support, and keep them healthy.

Answer to earlier trivia question: how much does a donkey weigh? My best guestimate, for the "mid size" Waikoloa donkey is 400-500 pounds. The amount of water consumption per donkey can be based on weight, times number of donkeys. Then we need estimates of how much water is "out there".