State lawmakers to discuss dangers of invasive species in inform - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State lawmakers to discuss dangers of invasive species in informational hearing

Little fire ants Little fire ants
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Little fire ants and coconut rhinoceros beetles are just a couple invasive species causing problems in Hawaii, and many others could pose a major threat to the state’s wildlife and ecosystem, officials said.     

“The challenges we face with invasive species like rapid ohia death, little fire ants, mosquitoes spreading dengue fever, and coqui frogs are no less important and have the potential to devastate our way of life and our economy if we don't take this fight seriously,” State Sen. Mark Gabbard said in a statement.

Gabbard and other lawmakers are trying to bring this issue to the forefront in Legislature, which is why they’re holding a briefing on Thursday with state departments, government and non-profit agencies on what pests and plant diseases are established in Hawaii and what’s being done to prevent them from spreading.

At this hearing at 10 a.m., officials will be displaying several live invasive species, including a snake, lizard and noxious plants.

"It's important that the Legislature hears from all on the front lines of this battle so we can collaboratively and effectively stop the spread of invasive species,” Rep. Clift Tsuji said. “We have been unable to set up a successful line of defense, and until we do invasive species will continue a relentless destructive path."

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