HONOLULU (AP) - A group of hunters is offering to help clear feral pigs from a windward Oahu botanical garden.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is considering the Oahu Pig Hunters Association's proposal to trap and capture pigs at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe for free. Caldwell delayed renewing a $53,000 federal contract to remove the pigs, pending a review of the hunting group's offer, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported last week.
Caldwell said in light of budget concerns, it makes sense to consider the offer. He said he likes the idea that the hunters will take the pig meat for consumption, instead of animal carcasses taking up space in a landfill.
"If they can do this in a way that's acceptable to staff at Hoomaluhia and the public, I think we can follow that direction," he said.
The city has been grappling with damage and safety issues that the wild pigs cause at the garden. Park officials estimate that more than 200 wild pigs roam the 400-acre botanical garden. Since a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture ran out in September, the animals have become bolder, going farther into public areas and making people nervous.
City attorneys are looking at potential liability issues related to the hunters' offer.
Dogs and guns would not be used, said association President Ollie Lunasco. The hunters would prefer using bows and arrows but will agree not to use them if there's any concern. Instead, they would be willing to set box or cage traps. Association members are required to have valid hunting licenses, he said.
He said the association is also willing to sign waivers freeing the city from liability for any illness that could come from eating the wild pig meat.