Thursday, June 26, 2003

Three more traps set to
capture large cat on Maui

While searchers found no
further evidence, residents are
warned to stay out of the area

WAILUKU >> State wildlife workers installed three more trap cages with store-bought chicken as bait yesterday in an attempt to capture a large cat sighted by several residents in lower Olinda on Maui.

Tea Penniman, manager of the state Maui Invasive Species Committee, said searchers found no additional evidence yesterday of a cat in the gulch.

Penniman said the searchers plan to check the traps at least once a day. "That's the main focus," she said.

The three traps were in addition to one that had already been placed in a gulch where searchers found evidence of a cat on Tuesday, including tree scratch marks, the remains of eight to 10 doves and large catlike paw prints.

During Tuesday's search a resident also reported seeing a large cat in lower Olinda.

State officials estimated the cat to be about 4 feet long, based on sightings reported by several residents of lower Olinda and the evidence they found Tuesday.

State wildlife biologist Fern Duvall said the cat, described as dark brown, may be a jaguar or leopard.

State officials hope the cat will continue to feed in the gulch and have asked the public to stay away.

Residents in lower Olinda have been asked to immediately report sightings or unusual events and to exercise caution in maintaining the safety of their family, livestock and pets.

Residents should not attempt to approach or capture any large animal in the area, the state said.

The state said big-cat sightings may be reported to wildlife biologist Fern Duvall at the Department of Land & Natural Resources, 873-3502, between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. During evenings and weekends, sightings may be reported to Maui police dispatch at 244-6400.


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