Maui axis deer survey counts about 8K animals

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The Maui Axis Deer Working Group is trying to quantify the invasive animal's population, while exploring whether developing a venison meat industry is a feasible solution for controlling its growth.

A September aerial survey counted about 8,000 deer in East Maui, the most heavily affected area. Axis deer were introduced to Maui in 1959, damaging farms, ranches and resorts.

Program manager Kanalu Sproat says the group in March plans to put radio collars on 20 female deer to monitor survival and reproduction rates.

The Maui News reported Monday that the group is working with a University of Delaware student studying a potential venison industry on Maui.

The group will also send surveys asking about the number of axis deer that are seen and what management methods are acceptable.

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