Aina Mauna Demonstration Game Management Program

Posted on Mar 27, 2018 in Fact Sheets

Aina Mauna Demonstration Game Management Program


The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has the kuleana to manage lands in the Humu’ula area of Mauna Kea. These lands span 56,000 acres and requires joint efforts by the department working with many partners including Homestead Associations on Moku ‘o Keawe, other State agencies, volunteers, etc.

Background information:

  1. Thousands of sheep have come off the summit of Mauna Kea and many have taken refuge on DHHL
  2. The kuleana to manage 56,000 acres is difficult to manage in and of itself. The addition of such a large population of sheep coming off the summit of Mauna Kea adds to an already complex issue of managing this huge land
  3. The DHHL continues to deal with barriers in its effort to make use of the animal resources and manage the sheep population in the Program
  4. Although the sheep population varies with animal movements in and out of the Program Area, an average population estimate for the Program Area is well over 1,000 animals.
  5. The sheep impact nearby Palila Critical Habitat in
  6. The sheep continually deforest the native mamane shrubland in the surrounding areas.
  7. The sheep pose a traffic hazard along Saddle Road

The Aina Mauna Demonstration Game Management Program’s objectives are:

  1. To reduce sheep populations to an acceptable level that will minimize damage in adjacent parcels designated as Palila Critical
  2. To reduce sheep populations to an acceptable level that will minimize deforestation of the native Mamane
  3. The DHHL navigated through some difficult barriers to address sheep herd reduction and genetic improvement but it is now the primary tool for sheep population management in the Program
  4. To reduce traffic hazards along Saddle
  5. To increase the quality of sheep back into the herd. To date, the DHHL has released over 350 sheep back to the Program Area. This includes animals with desirable genetic traits or pairs of mothers and young
  6. To retain enough sheep to reduce fire hazard to acceptable levels. Initially a target population size for the Program Area was 350 animals
  7. To comply with the Department of Health guidelines regarding animal waste
  8. To work with Homestead Associations in the distribution of sheep to insure animals are not wasted. Between July 2015 and September 2017, 738 sheep were distributed to Hawaii Island Homestead Community Association Presidents or representatives. No animals were
  9. To ensure public health and

In summary, this is Game Management Program NOT A SHEEP ERADICATION PROGRAM. The efforts of this sheep reduction program are a safe, effective and efficient way to limit road hazards, protect native forests and provide resources to beneficiaries. There is more work to be done on the Mauna and the DHHL is committed to continually improving this Demonstration Game Management Program.