Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 |
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Whoever let Alika out of its cage, we hope they’re happy.
Maybe they thought they were freeing a wild animal. Or maybe, as claimed by state wildlife officials who had raised the black-tailed deer buck, the act was the thoughtless work of vandals.
Either way, the end result wasn’t good. Alika, as the buck was named, is dead because someone cut open the wire enclosure that was the animal’s home at the Pua Loke Forestry Aroboretum in Lihu’e. The deer was discovered missing last Tuesday morning by state Department of Land and Natural Resources forestry and wildlife personnel, who followed its tracks to a nearby gulch. Alika was found there and coaxed back by its caretakers, but they couldn’t get it to enter its pen.
That’s when the situation went totally sideways. The 200-pound, heavily antlered buck became agitated and began charging the caretakers. For their safety, Alika was shot and killed.
Alika, orphaned as a fawn six years ago and bottle-fed and reared at the arboretum, was both tame and wild. The best place for it was its pen, at least until wildlife experts thought it should be released properly. Whoever is responsible for the cage-cutting that led to its demise did neither Alika nor the general public any favors.
As a result of this incident and the shooting of a female black-tailed deer from the same pen nine years ago, DLNR plans to stop exhibiting orphaned deer at the arboretum. People who visited and hand-fed the deer will be denied the opportunity to see one of nature’s wild creatures up close. That itself isn’t a big loss. But the needless death of Alika is tragic.
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