EPA settles with Kamehameha over rodent poison
Kamehameha Schools improperly used a rodent-killing chemical in the Keauhou forest region of the Big Island in 2003, accidentally killing 12 wild pigs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reported.
"Kamehameha Schools, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, apparently set ground bait traps" with Eaton's Bait Pellet Rodenticide, violating the EPA experimental use permit to apply the poison only via aerial drops on Kamehameha Schools land, an EPA release said.
Wild pigs, attracted by the smell of the bait, broke open the ground bait traps, which were intended to attract and kill mongoose and rats that prey upon native forest birds, said Peter Simmons, a Big Island land manager for Kamehameha Schools.
The unintended death of the pigs was reported by Kamehameha Schools when it was discovered, Simmons said.
"So far as I know, it worked fine on the rats," Simmons said. "But all of a sudden what we thought was doing good turned out to be a difficulty."
Kamehameha Schools backed off the project, which it had hoped would be helpful in reducing the rodent population in remote areas, Simmons said. The aerial drop of rodent-killer has been used successfully in New Zealand conservation efforts, he said.
The EPA agreed to a $3,300 settlement from Kamehameha Schools and issued a warning to the USDA, the EPA release said.
"Although Kamehameha Schools may have had well-meaning intentions behind its use of the pesticide, it violated federal pesticide law by using a pesticide contrary to the provisions of the experimental use permit," Enrique Manzanilla, EPA Communities and Ecosystems Division director for the Pacific Southwest Region, was quoted in the release.