The Maui News - An attentive audience packed shoulder to shoulder listened Wednesday evening to John Hadidian, senior wildlife scientist with the Humane Society of the United States, in the Cameron Center auditorium in Wailuku. The event drew nearly 100 residents for a discussion of Maui's growing problem with feral cat and chicken populations.
"For a long time now, we've been having issues with both feral cats and the proliferation of chickens in our community," Mayor Alan Arakawa said at the start of the meeting. "People's tempers are getting short, and something needs to be done to address these problems in a practical manner."
The public meeting Wednesday was called to "come up with workable solutions," Arakawa said. Representatives from the county, the Maui Humane Society, the Feline Foundation of Maui and the Humane Society of the United States spoke on the existing issue and addressed questions about possible long-term solutions. Trap, neuter and release programs, individual trapping efforts and a birth control for birds are just some of the possible long-term solutions that were discussed.
"No solutions will be reached tonight," Jocelyn Bouchard, chief executive officer of the Maui Humane Society, said at the meeting. "This is a community issue, and it's going to need community solutions. No one person or one group or one organization is going to solve this. It's going to take all of us."
All panelists agreed that more research needs to be done on both feline and fowl populations to better understand breeding patterns, population size and areas of concentration.
A good opportunity for public input would be at one of the mayor's budget hearings happening around the county in the upcoming weeks. The full schedule public of budget meetings may be found at www.co.maui.hi.us/index.aspx?nid=1680.