Egrets and owls
Cattle egrets and barn owls are an important part of Hawaii’s environment, consuming large amounts of rodent and insect pests as they were meant to do when first introduced by the government to these islands back in the 1950s.
They are protected by international migratory bird treaties, and are admired and prized by people wherever they are found. Unfortunately, they are now being targeted for destruction statewide by the same invasive species eradicators who are killing our other introduced wildlife.
Currently, whenever there is a conflict between egrets or owls and endangered species or airports, there have been permits required for their control in the local area where they are a problem. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed lifting this permit requirement to allow the egrets and barn owls to be killed anywhere they are found, even if they are not causing any problems.
This slaughter of innocent egrets and owls is a crime against nature and against the people who live with and admire these magnificent birds. Making matters even worse, one of the methods that will be used to kill the birds is to attract them to slaughter areas by broadcasting their bird calls. Owls will be attracted from miles away to be shot. Egret colonies will be massacred for no reason other than their existence in Hawaii.
It seems that this is another case of job security for wildlife control professionals. It proposes a “final solution” for the egrets and owls, not only controlling them where they are a problem, but everywhere they live.
We are told it is OK, since there are barn owls and cattle egrets elsewhere in the world. But for those of us who live with and enjoy these marvelous creatures, this is the world that matters.
Sydney Ross Singer
Follow the money
It was a matter of time. Mayor Billy Kenoi’s new budget is almost 5 percent higher than last year (Tribune-Herald, March 1). That is a lot of money.
The economy is still weak. This type of budget increase will further dampen the economy and will hurt “the average Joe” out there who isn’t lucky enough to have a government job.
It’s an election year. I wonder which up-for-re-election candidates will benefit from this extra spending? Let’s watch and see.