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What We Do: Invasive Species

Invasive Species Goal: Reduce the impacts of invasive species to native species and habitats in Hawai‘i

  • Prevent new invasive species from entering Hawai‘i and control invasive species already here
  • Change the paradigm for state “management” of introduced game mammals and public hunting.
Ants on sooty tern chick
Ants on a sooty tern chick

Along with climate change, invasive species are the most serious threat to native Hawaiian species and ecosystems. Invasive species are plants and animals that were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by humans either intentionally for a purpose such as the pet or garden trade and ranching or accidentally by hitchhiking on imported potted plants or in the hull of ships. Once these species escape cultivation and become feral in the case of domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats gone wild, or naturalized in the case of introduced plants, they contribute to the loss of native Hawaiian species and ecosystems. They also threaten public health and safety, the economy, and the Native Hawaiian culture, which depends on native plants and animals to survive. Among the most serious invasive species in Hawai‘i are wild cattle, pigs, sheep, mouflon, goats and deer, which are managed by the State for public hunting; strawberry guava, which is literally taking over our native rain forests, and miconia – both of which were brought to the islands as ornamental plants; and introduced ants, which prey on seabird and other chicks.

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