Lack of regulation threatens federally protected birds

Guy Chang
Guy Chang
Jaap Eijzenga
Jaap Eijzenga
Sen. Clayton Hee
Sen. Clayton Hee

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KANEOHE BAY (KHNL) - Many in Windward Oahu are angry that an island in Kaneohe Bay is being trashed. They're upset, that federally-protected seabirds are being killed.

Kapapa Island is in Senator Clayton Hee's district.

He's been getting a lot of complaints recently and so has the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

But unlike the other small islands near Oahu, there are no rules there, which leaves enforcement officers with their hands tied behind their backs.

Just about a half mile from Heeia Kea Pier is where picturesque Kapapa Island resides. But its unmatched beauty is being threatened by a few people.

"There's a lot of people that like to spend the night out here, fishing and camping, but obviously as the years went on, there's more wildlife here occupying the island and there definitely irresponsible use of the natural historical, cultural resources out here," DLNR's Guy Chang said.

The Wedgetail Shearwaters live on this island, authorities are trying to protect them.

"Dogs are particularly damaging, they basically peg the shearwaters in the burrows or dig them out, and kill them in a short time they can kill a lot of seabirds," State Wildlife biologist Jaap Eijzenga said.

Senator Clayton Hee spearheaded this trip to Kapapa Island. He says he wants to expose what's going on at this wildlife sanctuary that houses federally protected seabirds.

"I've come to learn that there are no rules on this island, so people can misbehave without regard to consequences from the State DLNR, because of the lack of rules," Hee said.

But DLNR enforcement officers say a push for rules on this island a few years back brought strong opposition.

They're hoping people will see the destruction here and possibly change their minds.

"It's unfortunate that rules have to be imposed, but for the lack of rules, we see the consequences," Hee said.

Senator Hee and DLNR are currently working on putting together public hearings. Those dates have not been set just yet.