A solution to address the cat colonies on the island of Hawaii is not simple. In a survey, readers were asked, “What is the best way to humanely address the feral/community cat overpopulation on the Big Island?”
The question got 2,836 votes.
Of the seven actions listed in the Big Island Now poll, an eradication program was the most popular, garnering 1,108 votes.
But if you combine the votes from the five life-saving options, you would win with 1,665 votes.
Only 54 people voted to do nothing and “let nature take its course.”
In Lānaʻi, there is a non-profit feral cat sanctuary, which saves the cats and protects the birds.
Many of those who commented on the survey expressed problems with cats being predators of native Hawaiian birds. Douglas Kerr commented: “Feeding cats simply increases the population of bird killers. Cats kill native birds mainly for sport because that’s what they do.”
“While I am strongly in favor of the trap/spay and neuter/release program, I also believe that, as in the past, the humane euthanasia program is integral to restoring balance to the population,” said Don S.
Many people supported the option of trap, neuter and release. One Facebook user wrote: “Take back affordable spay/neuter coupons. Stricter laws regarding dumping/animal abuse. This is a HUMAN problem. People throw them away. We have to get to the root cause to solve the problem. If we want to save native wildlife and fauna, we need to reassess development. Most of the endangered/protected species like the nēnē are starving because we are developing on Their land.”
Another Facebook user praised the nonprofit organization ABayKitties and its work caring for homeless cats.
G and B wrote: “The solution is a combination of all of the above. Find a way to secure Nēnē feeding stations until the cats can be trapped, neutered, and released to sanctuaries, while a mass adoption and education campaign is underway.”
The full results of Big Island Now Poll #9:
- Island eradication program: 1108 (39%)
- Continue with trap, sterilize and release programs: 867 (30%)
- Cat sanctuary: 397 (14%)
- Gather them and take them to shelters: 190 (6%)
- Continue feeders and drinkers 137: (4%)
- Mass adoption campaign: 74 (2%)
- Do nothing; let nature take its course 54: (1%)
The question arose a couple of weeks ago after the Department of Land and Natural Resources ordered real estate firm Alexander & Baldwin, which owns Queens’ Marketplace, to remove cat feeding and watering stations from the Waikōloa shopping area. .
On April 18, a group of 50 people he went to the market and argued with the conservation officers about how inhumane it was to starve the cats. Two people were ultimately cited by state conservation and resource officials for “taking prohibited endangered species” by putting bowls of cat food on the ground.
The injunction came after the state upheld an allegation that nēnē (Hawaiian goose) was “observed consuming cat food and regularly spending time among the feral cat colony, resulting in harm to nēnē.”
Nēnē is endangered and so is Hawaii’s state bird, so protecting them is a state priority.
There is an overpopulation of animals in general on the island of Hawaii. Shelters are at capacity and there are colonies of cats all over the county, either abandoned or cared for by animal lovers.
at the behest of Governor Josh Green, Dawn Chang, chair of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, came to the Big Island to speak with ABayKitties.the non-profit organization primarily responsible for feeding the cats in the commercial area of Waikōloa.
No resolutions were immediately made to address the particular situation in Waikōloa.