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For Immediate Release: August 12, 2004


HONOLULU - A multi-agency "Rapid Response Team" has been mobilized and will begin searching the Hana area tonight after a snake was reportedly sighted by a Maui resident Tuesday night, August 10. 

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) are coordinating the team, made up of county, federal, and state agencies and community representatives.

Personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services and the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) are also members of the Rapid Response Team.   MISC is also coordinating the in the field response team.

On Tuesday night, Maui police received a call from the resident who reported that he saw a 3-foot-long snake slithering across Hana Highway. 

A Rapid Response Plan was previously developed so officials could respond swiftly to credible reports of snakes.  Several members of the team have traveled to Guam for training in snake detection. 

The team and county began clearing trails and roadsides this afternoon and will begin a systematic search this evening.  Traps using dead mice as bait will also be set tonight.

The USGS office in Guam is sending three people, as well as one person from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, to Maui to help in the search.

“At this  stage, we have a credible report of a snake sighting but are not sure exactly what type of snake this may be,” said Peter Young, DLNR chairperson.  “We will be intensively searching in the area where the snake was seen.” 

“We have taken proactive steps for some time now to get personnel in Hawaii trained to conduct rapid response searches for snakes, and now it is time to activate them.”

“The risk of a snake population becoming established in Hawai‘i, where they are not native and have no natural predators, poses a severe threat to our island ecology, economy and lifestyle,” Young said.

In Hawai‘i there were 236 credible snake sightings between 1990 and 2000.

“We rely on responsible citizens to report sightings of snakes and other illegal animals.  If you see a snake, call 911 immediately and keep an eye on the snake if possible,” said Domingo Cravalho, animal specialist with HDOA. 

Snake reports can be made to the Pest Hotline, 586-PEST (7378), and captive snakes can be surrendered under the stateÂ’s amnesty program.


For more information, contact:
Deborah Ward
DLNR Public Information Office
Phone: (808) 587-0320

Janelle Saneishi
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Phone: (808) 973-9560
E-mail: [email protected]

On Maui:
Mele Fong
Maui Invasive Species Committee - Public Relations Specialist
(808) 573-6475