Hawaii updates rules to address feral cats in boat harbors

©Kunal Mukherjee

On Sep. 8, the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources approved a rule change developed by the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation that would authorize state officials to seize stray domestic animals found within boat harbors or facilities — namely feral cats (Felis catus) — and dispose of them “by any means deemed necessary by the department.” The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources acknowledges the public health risks and negative impacts on wildlife caused by feral cats. As an invasive species, free-roaming cats contribute to the spread of diseases, like toxoplasmosis, and prey on native species — some of which are endangered.

The rule change was a controversial topic of discussion during public testimony. In passing the rule, officials delayed the effective date until January 2019 to allow for a collaborative effort in developing a feral cat management plan. Additionally, another rule change was passed that would prohibit anyone from feeding or adding to existing boat harbor cat colonies. Both rules still await a signature from Governor David Ige (D).

Read more at KHON2.

Read TWS’ Fact Sheet on the Effects of an Invasive Species: Domestic Cats.