- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Federal wildlife officials have reopened a public comment period for a draft environmental impact statement regarding the eradication of mongooses and rodents in Hawaii’s native ecosystems and wildlife refuges.

The new comment period ends April 7. An official with the Fish and Wildlife Service on Oahu says the federal agency reopened the public comment period to fall in line with the state’s approval process. The previous period was held June 30 to Oct. 28, The Maui News reported (https://bit.ly/1PHpNrR).

The draft environmental impact statement presents the use of mechanical traps, compressed carbon dioxide and rodenticides as ways to control the mongoose and rodent populations. There are methods used to maintain the populations in urban and agricultural areas, but they need to be adapted for conservation areas, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife said.

Mongooses and rodents have caused extinctions and severe declines of many Hawaiian native species, including the Oahu elepaio, Oahu tree snails and native palms, according to the agency.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said the draft environmental impact statement is meant only for informational and planning purposes, and does not call for any action to take place.

The mongoose was first brought to Hawaii Island in 1883, then to Maui, Molokai and Oahu. The mammal native to Africa and Asia was introduced to the islands by sugar industry officials to control rats in the cane fields, according to the Hawaii Native Species Council.

Current methods used to control rodents and mongooses include using live and kill traps and diphacinone in bait stations. Diphacinone has been used to protect Hawaii’s native species since the 1990s.

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Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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