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Dogs suspected in slaughter of seabirds on Kauai

  • COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

    Newell shearwater birds, also known as Hawaiian shearwater birds, are seen in this 2010 photo.

State wildlife officials this afternoon reported the discovery 34 native seabirds had been killed on Kauai’s south coast, where dogs are suspected in the attacks.

The seabirds, wedge-tailed shearwaters, were killed over the weekend in the Spouting Horn colony in the Lawai area, and most of the birds were killed near the parking lot end of Lawai Road.

In a press release, Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) biologists said, “evidence so far points to dogs as killers of these native seabirds, which are ground-nesters. Unfortunately this is not the first time seabirds have been killed in this way.”

The department said it plans to perform necropsies to confirm how the birds were killed, but are also relying on possible witnesses in the attacks.

“Unless someone saw the attack and identifies the dog it is very difficult to definitively prove,” said Thomas Kaiakapu, DOFAW Kauai District biologist. “This is why we need more citizen monitors to help us protect and care for these vulnerable birds in their habitat,” Kaiakapu said.

“DLNR again urges Kauai communities to ensure that dogs are not allowed to run loose, which is a violation of both state and county laws. There have been multiple attacks on Kauai’s native birds by dogs and cats over the years,” he said. “We have been given authority by local landowners to do some dog trapping, which we hope will lead us to the responsible dog owners.”

Anyone who may have witnessed the attacks over the weekend is asked to contact DLNR DOCARE at 643-DLNR with descriptions of any dogs observed in the seabird colony.

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