Download: Axis Deer Alert
Axis deer was first illegally introduced in December 2009, but the first confirmed sighting wasn’t until February 2011. Four deer were transported from Maui where axis deer was previously introduced in 1959. BIISC immediately began monitoring the area and confirmed axis deer had made its way to the Big Island. Surveys were produced with the use of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar) equipment, helicopter flights, and other methods. The BIISC vertebrate team was able to quickly and successfully eradicate the deer. There have been no more confirmed sightings of axis deer since.
But that is not the end of the problem. Because the first confirmed sighting was a little more than a year after the initial introduction there is a possibility that the first deer had already begun breeding increasing the total amount of deer that was speculated to be on the Big Island. The BIISC vertebrate team is still conducting some surveys but relies heavily on sighting reports from the public. One of the main ways to ID and axis deer is by the white spots on its body.
Axis deer can cause a lot of damage to the Big Islands natural environment as well as the agricultural industry. In the past they have caused millions of damage to golf courses, food crops, ranches, landscaping, and more. Deer are also a carrier of bovine tuberculosis which can have devastating results to the cattle industry. Axis deer reproduce extremely quickly and it would only take a few years for them to become established and uncontrollable.
If you see and axis deer or any other kind of vertebrate that shouldn’t be there please let us know.
Report A Pest or call the Deer Hotline immediately at (808) 443-4036
Summer 2015 “Wildlife Professional” magazine article: Axis Deer Wildlife Professional 2015 (1)
Download: Axis Deer alert