LIHUE (KHON2) — Off-leash dogs and feral cats are responsible for the killings of between 140 and 150 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters on Kauai during 2019’s nesting season.
The shoreline burrowing seabirds are easy prey for both dogs and cats. In the most recent incident, earlier this week at least 35 birds were found dead.
After the report was made and was investigated, shearwater carcasses were found strewn along the cliffs over a large area.
Abby Kreuser, of KESRP, was one of the staff members who responded to the incident.
She said, “It was a really horrific scene. There were dead birds everywhere and most of them were chicks that were only a few weeks away from fledging. It looks like a large proportion of the young birds from the colony have been wiped out, as well as many breeding adults.”
This is not the first year this particular colony was decimated by predators.
Six years ago, 80 shearwaters were killed by cats and dogs over a two-month period.
There have been four reported mass killings, including another incident at a separate colony on the south shore where at least 55 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were killed.
“These kinds of incidents happen annually, and our shearwaters cannot withstand such a high level of predation,” said Dr. Andre Raine, KESRP Project Coordinator. “We urge people to keep their dogs on leashes in coastal areas and keep their cats indoors.
People are encouraged to report any wildlife killings to the 24-hour DOCARE (Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement) hotline at 643-DLNR or via the DLNRTip app.