On Thursday, June 21, Gov. Neil Abercrombie enacted Senate Bill (SB) 3001, Relating to Wildlife, into law. This measure prohibits the intentional possession and inter-island transport or release of wild or feral deer.
The introduction of non-native species to the state poses a negative effect on Hawai'i's environment and indigenous species in a variety of ways. Specifically, axis deer have caused great damage to native habitats and agricultural crops on Maui and are a danger to vehicular traffic on roadways. SB 3001 aims to provide a deterrent to the purposeful spread of wild or feral deer within the state and establishes penalties for the intentional possession or inter-island transportation or release of wild or feral deer.
"It is imperative that Hawai'i's environment and local industry be protected from the devastating effects that non-native species can pose to the health of our local economy and ecosystem, " said Sen. Gilbert Kahele, who introduced the measure. "This measure establishes the regulations needed to prevent the unwanted spread of axis deer so that our environment and businesses can continue to grow and prosper."
"We commend Sen. Kahele, the state legislature and the governor for passing SB 3001 to prevent the cruel and irresponsible abandonment of deer across Hawai'i," said Inga Gibson, Hawai'i director for The Humane Society of the United States. "Such illegal introductions cause unnecessary animal suffering and harm to the environment."