Axis Deer

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Axis axis
Origin: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal

Axis deer were first brought to Hawaii in 1867 and released on Moloka`i. In 1904 a population was introduced to Lana`i, and in 1959, in an ill-conceived effort by the State of Hawaii to promote game hunting, they were introduced to Maui.

Though axis deer are beautiful and reportedly produce the best venison, they are incompatible with Hawaii's native forests which evolved without the presence of large mammals and so have no defenses against browsing ungulates. On Moloka`i, where the deer have resided longest, vast tracts of forest have been laid waste by this species. On Maui, axis deer live primarily in lowland areas where most native forests have been replaced by introduced trees, but as their population increases they are being found more often in protected lands.

Axis deer also cause extensive and costly damage to local farms, they compete with cattle for grazing, they congregate on golf courses causing ever more damage, and they have become a threat to drivers as deer/car collisions become more common.

Despite all this, a solution to the problem of axis deer on Maui has yet to be found. Hunting has proved largely ineffective in population control since most axis deer exist on private lands.

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