The Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has issued a reminder to pet owners to keep pet dogs on leashes after three adult Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis were killed on the North shore of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i last week in the latest incident where albatrosses have been slaughtered by loose dogs. The dead albatrosses, which have only recently started returning to Kaua‘i to breed, were found by tourists walking near Moloa’a Bay.
Remains of a Laysan Albatross killed by a dog this month
Photograph by Gina Ord
In recent years there have been a number of incidents when dogs have roamed into albatross colonies on Kaua’i and killed large numbers of breeding birds, with reported cases in 2004 (at least 13 adults and chicks), 2006 (two adults and 14 chicks), 2007 (four chicks) and 2012 (at least nine chicks) (click here).
“Yet again, protected seabirds have been killed on Kaua’i by dogs that have been allowed to roam off their leads,” said Thomas Ka’akapu, DLNR Kaua’1 Wildlife Manager (click here).
“Considering that these albatross can live to be over 60 years old, it is particularly tragic to see them torn apart by dogs simply because a dog owner has been irresponsible.”
Two of the three birds were marked with unique identification codes. One, KP341, was a male bird that had been banded in 2007. It was one of a pair that are known to be the first pair to lay their egg on Kaua’i each year. The second bird, P009, was banded at the Pacific Missile Range Testing Facility Barking Sands on the island’s South Shore.
“We are asking dog owners to be responsible with their pets when walking along our coastal areas”, said Ka‘iakapu. “The message is simple – keep your dogs under control and on their leads. That way we can prevent these kinds of incidents from happening over and over again.”
Suburban Laysan Albatrosses in Princeville in happier times
Photograph by Bob Waid
Click here to read about the suburban albatrosses of Princeville on Kaua’i. You can also follow two well-illustrated blogs that follow the fortunes of the garden-nesting albatrosses.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 December 2013