State Veterinarians Help Move Livestock from Lava Flow

Posted on Sep 15, 2014 in Main

Over the past month, state veterinarians Drs. Jason Moniz and Kim Kozuma have been working on plans to move livestock from the Kaohe-Pahoa area in case the lava flow endangers livestock on ranches and small farms.

Knowing that small farms would have trouble transporting their livestock and also locating a temporary home, Drs. Moniz and Kozuma began planning early – locating state lands and private ranches where livestock could be taken for short-term and possibly long-term relocation.  They worked closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense and the the Mayor’s office and other concerned citizens.

As the flow got closer, they teamed with local ranchers to move cattle, horses, goats, sheep, swine and poultry out of the Kaohe Homestead area.  Each animal was either tagged or microchipped for identification prior to transport. Extra care is also necessary to prevent the spread of any animal diseases.  The plan was to move all the livestock in advance so that movement of animals would not interfere or hamper the later evacuation of people from the area.

An early estimate include the movement of about 100 cattle, 20 horses, 30-35 goats/sheep, 9 pigs and 40 poultry from the Kaohe Homestead.

Through it all, our veterinarians are grateful to all those who helped and are helping in the evacuation of pets and livestock.

“Without the support of individuals, families, farmers and ranchers, it would have been much more difficult to find a safe haven for the evacuated animals,” said Dr. Kozuma.

“People took off work uncompensated, using their own vehicles and trailers, and offering their property to move these animals to safety.

“Individuals opened their doors (pastures) to total strangers in need,” Kozuma added.

“It has been a privilege to work with County Civil Defense, the mayor and other agencies, all for the common cause of helping our families and farmers in need,” said Kozuma.

If the lava flow progresses towards Pahoa, more livestock from larger operations will also be in jeopardy. Our veterinarians are working on plans for that too.

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Dr. Moniz checks livestock prior to transport.
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 Animals must be tagged or in this case microchipped for identification prior to transport.
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Aerial map of Kaohe Homestead.
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Dr. Kozuma got some great help at the Pahoa Emergency Meeting on Sept. 12. She’s pictured with daughter, Emma (6) and her mobile ranch, while daughter, Jade (9), takes this photo. Thank you girls for helping HDOA!
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Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and Dr. Kozuma
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Hawaii Island Civil Defense Chief Darryl Olivera & Dr. Kozuma