HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mongoose are common to see on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Molokai and have been on the island for more than 100 years.
According to Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources small Indian mongooses originally were brought to Hawaii for rat control in sugarcane fields in the 1890s.
However, they have become serious predators of native wetland, seabird and upland forest birds in the Hawaii islands.
Dr. Shane Siers with USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center presented their findings on mongoose population and control on the Hawaiian islands.
Their report said mongooses present a health risk to humans because they are hosts of leptospirosis in Hawaii and the Caribbean.
Hawaii is known to having one of the highest prevalence of leptospirosis in humans requiring medical treatment in the U.S.
The report said prevalence of leptospirosis in mongooses has been estimated at 18.4% in some areas of Hawaii.
Very few teams have the technical expertise to remove mongoose successfully, even from small islands.
Unfortunately, due to little to no expertise on the subject there have been a few failures and little progress besides trapping and trying to control this species.
Trying to control this population is easier said than done. DLNR reports in Hawaii, live-traps and registered diphacinone wax baits are employed.
However, the methods have not been very successful in areas with low mongoose density or high alternate prey density.
Although mongoose are currently not overpopulating Kauai there have been numerous reports of sightings of mongoose throughout the decades.
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For more information about this report head to Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resource’s website.