Does it Meow… or Growl?!

Wildcat is spotted on the Big Island

  • 17 August 2022
  • Author: Mark Berthold
  • Number of views: 515
Does it Meow… or Growl?!

When the media come calling, CTAHR faculty must truly be ready to handle questions from left field.

Two days ago, KHON-2 TV interviewed Melissa Price of the Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Management. And their big question was, “What kind of danger or damage to the ecosystem would a large predatory cat present to Hawaiʻi?” 

The ongoing “news” story broke Sunday when a man living in the rural Holualoa area above Kailua-Kona on the Big Island spotted a large, possibly wild, and possibly dangerous animal from the cat family.

“As soon as it jumped, I mean this thing maybe five, six feet up in the air, as well as out almost 30 feet,” the man said. “I’ve never seen anything like that. I mean, cats can jump but I’ve never seen a big cat jump.”

Although probably not as big as a puma, the wildcat could be dangerous to our ecosystem by spreading infections like Toxoplasmosis to Hawaiian monk seals or becoming predators to other animals, Price noted.

“They are major predators and they eat a diverse array of whatever they can get their mouths on as far as animals go,” she Price.

The state Dept. of Land and Natural Resources has since set up cameras and bait in the area, but has not yet determined if it will use dogs to track down the feline.

Read the full KHON-2 story.

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