Fourth proclamation issued declaring disaster relief for Maui’s axis deer crisis

September 20, 2022, 9:33 AM HST

Axis Deer (Sept. 14, 2020). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Gov. David Ige issued a fourth proclamation, establishing another emergency relief period for the axis deer crisis in Maui County.

Despite ongoing efforts, the axis deer population has grown to approximately 60,000 or more, which state officials say cannot be sustained by the environment on Maui.

According to state officials, the large number of deer has devastated pasture forage and vegetation that are already scarce because of continuing drought conditions.

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“The axis deer are migrating into agricultural and developed areas, seeking food and water, and potentially spreading disease in the environment. Increasing numbers are also foraging in urbanized areas,” according to a state press release.

In September 2022, the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture opened an emergency loan program to assist farmers with the costs associated with the overpopulation of axis deer in Maui County. The low-interest emergency loans will offer some relief for farmers and ranchers in managing their losses and assisting with the cost of fencing and other mitigation measures. 

The emergency relief period has been declared to enable the state and county to continue taking measures to reduce and control axis deer populations and to implement management strategies. This includes corralling of axis deer, culling of the deer to sustainable levels, clearing vegetation along fence lines, and erecting and/or reinforcing fence lines to keep axis deer away from roadways, airports, and runways.

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The fourth proclamation relating to axis deer continues through Nov. 18, 2022.

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