by Tom Lodge
Hawaii County’s overwhelming November 6 vote in favor of creating an appointed Game Commission is a referendum on the job that both the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) does and also on what is happening to our forests in the name of "science and watershed protection.”
The DLNR, Board of Land and Natural Resources, Feds, and their swarm of “scientists” have invaded our forests. They seem to survive on enduring crisis for it appears that if they fix something, their money stops. For the people of Hawaii that very implication should be cause for great concern.
It is the aerial slaughter of sheep, goats, and pigs that prompted the referendum. For 30 years, we have been spending millions of dollars each year to save the Palila, carried out through a frivolous indictment on ungulates, one of Hawaii’s important resources. A wrongfully applied Court Order is no excuse; this entire affair needs to be re-evaluated.
Instead of taking care of an endangered plant or bird, they have co-opted the term “ecosystem management” to fence in thousands of acres of forestlands in the “interest of science”. However, according to University of Oregon Fisheries and Wildlife management professor, Robert T. Lackey, “Ecosystem management should maintain ecosystems in the appropriate condition to achieve desired social benefits; the desired social benefits are defined by society, not scientists.”
They blame the sheep but 30 years of slaughter have done nothing to help the Palila. The truth is they don’t know what affects the Palila! This slaughter of the sheep needs to stop. It is an important Island and State resource and not worth sacrificing for failed policy and science!
It is time that the State recognize that this court ordered mandate must be challenged and a new plan for the mountain needs to be implemented, a Cooperative Resource Management Plan that includes all the stake holders with a strategy that benefits all of our people and resources. Anytime you ask the environmentalist to collaborate, they reject it. The people know this, and we are tired of it. This is just the beginning. The people of Hawaii apparently feel that they have been tread upon for far too long.
Related: Voters issue a powerful mandate for hunting, fishing and gathering on Hawaii island