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Friday, August 01, 2014         

KOKUA LINE


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With no approved controls, aggressive lizard here to stay

By June Watanabe

POSTED:



Question: Does anyone know how I can get rid of or minimize the population of those ugly, dark brown anole lizards that are running wild and rapidly increasing in population? They look like little dinosaurs and seem to be very aggressive. They are usually by our moss rock wall or in the plants. However, my boss says she now sees them on the walls of her house. They apparently are all over the island. We live in Pearl City, but I have friends/relatives who have this same problem in Mililani, Windward Oahu, East Ho­no­lulu, etc. I tried calling the state Vector Control Branch, but unfortunately, the gentleman could not give me any help. He said if I find out how to eradicate these lizards, to be sure to call him back and let him know.

Answer: Unfortunately, there is no approved way to eradicate, let alone control, these highly invasive lizards, which were first observed in the islands in the mid-1990s.

In 2006, we described how brown anoles were popping up in many areas of Oahu, had already spread to Maui and were sure to spread to other islands — http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/11/30/news/kokualine.html.

We were told then by both a state and Maui Invasive Species Committee official that basically it was too late to try to control brown anoles because they were too widespread and had become part of Hawaii’s fauna.

Nothing has changed since then, except that they have continued to spread.

“They recently reached the Big Island,” said Keevin Minami, land vertebrate specialist with the state Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch, adding that “they can travel in anything.”

There is no method approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deal with them, Minami said.

Brown anoles are native to Cuba and the Bahamas, but have spread to several mainland states. Where they have settled in, they have basically driven out the less-aggressive green anoles, which are native to the United States.

Asked how prevalent they now are in Hawaii, Minami said no one has surveyed the population. Brown anoles basically “can feed on anything,” he said, including native insects.

In turn, bigger birds, such as egrets, may go after them. But while they are prey for snakes, Minami and his colleagues in the Plant Quarantine Branch work hard to keep snakes out of the state.

Question: The Kalakaua recreation/boxing ring was closed on January 2011 for renovations. Someone said that it would reopen in April/May. Can you verify when it will reopen and why it's taking so long and what work was done?

Answer: Barring any “unexpected deficiencies” during a pre-final inspection, the Kalakaua District Park gym in Kalihi should reopen the second week of June, said Collins Lam, director of the city Department of Design and Construction.

“Construction is progressing satisfactorily and is on schedule,” he said. The $230,000 project was based on a 120-day contract period and was anticipated to be completed by the end of May. The contractor was given a “notice to proceed” on Jan. 31.

The project involved demolishing, removing and replacing exterior and designated interior doors and frames; installing new security gates and fences; and demolishing, removing and replacing security screens for the gym.

Mahalo

To all who helped me when my car broke down Sunday morning, May 1, on King Street. An even bigger mahalo to the two police officers who remained with me until the tow truck came. It warms my heart to know the “Aloha Spirit” still lives on. —– Vickie Buendia

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Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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