Officials to tackle wild Manoa pigs
A meeting will discuss ways to control the swine
When Christie Kaan left her Manoa home yesterday morning, a foul stench filled the air.
Her father, who was visiting from California, ventured into the back yard to investigate, stumbling across a horde of flies feasting on the decaying carcass of a dead pig about 50 yards from Kaan's home.
"I've heard neighbors complain of pigs in their yards; I've even heard them (the pigs) walking through our backyard. ... But this is the first time I've seen a dead pig so close to my house," Kaan said.
Her next-door neighbor, Alice Scheuer, was not surprised by the discovery since she has had several encounters with swine in the neighborhood and has had more than 200 of them removed from her property over the past several years.
"This just gives further evidence of the need to have something done about this," she said.
Government officials agree.
Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources were to meet with Manoa residents today to discuss options on dealing with wild pigs, at the Manoa Elementary School cafeteria at 6 p.m.
Proposed methods include:
» Day hunts using dogs and archers.
» Night hunts permitted for the purpose of animal damage control.
» Collaboration with licensed hunters.
» Trap-building workshops for residents.
» Contact list for pig hunters.
Special hunts in the past couple of years have netted mediocre results. Fifteen feral pigs were caught in 2002, and 22 were taken during the 2004-05 program. Although there is no way to estimate the feral pig population, residents and government officials agree there are a lot of them.
Since DLNR does not have the staffing to handle swine removal, it usually refers complaints to the Oahu Pig Hunters' Association or licensed hunters. They do not charge for their services, but are rewarded with the meat they garner from their efforts. If the pigs are small, they are either relocated to more rural areas or given to an animal farm.
Night hunting is outlawed in Hawaii, but occasionally people are given wildlife permits for damage control that allows hunting at night, since pigs are primarily nocturnal animals.
Although Manoa Neighborhood Board Vice Chairman Jim Harwood agrees that hunting is the best solution, he often disagrees with their methods.
"There are more effective ways that are not so inhumane," he said.
Harwood suggests box trapping and poisoning instead of using dogs or steel band traps that mangle the animal.
Kaan said her family does not use any type of traps around the house, especially because she has a 9-year-old son who could accidentally get caught in them. However, she does worry that he may eventually come in contact with the wild animals that seem to have free reign throughout their neighborhood and the Forestry Reserve that lines the back of their property.
Although the pigs sometimes endanger residents' safety and health, their biggest complaint is the property damage the wild animals cause.
"They (the pigs) tear up the ground, trample the native plants and damage whatever is left of the native forest. ... It looks like Roto-Rooter," said Manoa resident Sarah Preble, who has had a history of problems with the creatures.
Oahu is not the only island where pigs roam freely in neighborhoods and make themselves at home in residents' backyards.
Ed Johnson, a biologist for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, said wild swine are found on every island except for Lanai.
If pesky pigs are making a stink in your back yard, call the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
Lanai: No feral pigs
Big Island (East/Hilo): 974-4221
Big Island (West/Kamuela): 887-6063
State hosts meeting: The Department of Land and Natural Resources will present options on how to resolve the feral pig problem at 6 p.m. today in Manoa Elementary School's cafeteria, 3155 Manoa Road.