Mongoose caught on Kauaʻi where invasive pest not established
HONOLULU — Hawaiʻi agriculture officials are concerned after a live mongoose was caught on Kauaʻi, an island that doesn't have an established population of the invasive pest that threatens native birds.
The state Department of Agriculture said a mongoose was found Tuesday in one of 15 traps set up after one of the animals was spotted at Nāwiliwili Harbor.
Mongooses found in Hawaiʻi are native to India and were originally introduced in 1883 by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields on Maui, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu.
But it turned out that the animals only had a minor impact on rat populations.
The weasel-like animals are now widespread on the Hawaiʻi Island, Oʻahu, Maui and Molokaʻi. But there are no known populations on Lānaʻi and Kauaʻi.
There have been previous sightings of mongooses on Kauaʻi. In 2016, a mongoose was trapped in the cargo area at Lihue Airport. In 2012, a mongoose was trapped at Nāwiliwili Harbor and another was trapped near a resort in Līhuʻe.
They prey on the eggs and hatchlings of native ground nesting birds and endangered sea turtles.
The other remaining traps are being monitored.