Does Hawaii have a mongoose problem?

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Mongooses are widespread on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Molokai and have been living on the island for more than 100 years.

Corresponding Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Small Indian mongooses were originally brought to Hawaii in the 1890s for rat control in sugar cane fields.

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However, they have become serious predators of native wetland, seabird, and upland forestbirds in the Hawaiian Islands.

dr Shane Siers with USDA National Wildlife Research Center presented their findings on mongoose population and control in the Hawaiian Islands.

According to their report, mongooses pose a health risk to humans because they are hosts of leptospirosis in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Hawaii is known for having one of the highest prevalence rates of leptospirosis among people requiring medical treatment in the United States

According to the report, the prevalence of leptospirosis in mongooses in some areas of Hawaii was estimated at 18.4%.

Very few teams have the technical expertise to successfully remove mongooses, even from small islands.

Unfortunately, due to little to no expertise on the subject, there has been some failure and little progress aside from catching and attempting to control this species.

Trying to control this population is easier said than done. DLNR reports that live traps and registered diphacinone wax baits are being used in Hawaii.

However, the methods have not been very successful in areas with low mongoose densities or high alternative prey densities.

Although mongooses do not currently overpopulate Kauai, there have been numerous reports of mongoose sightings over the decades.

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Additional information on this report is available from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources website.

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