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Control efforts for mouflon have not been successful on Mauna Kea, and a widening distribution of this species now threatens Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and other natural areas on the island of Hawai‘i.
Baseline information does not exist for populations of herbivores on the newly acquired Kahuku Ranch annex to HAVO, although mouflon are known to exist there in large numbers.
Alternatively, inexpensive auxiliary information from eradication and reduction efforts may provide adequate assessments to monitor the effectiveness of these attempts, and these data in conjunction with vegetation monitoring may be useful to gauge the overall effectiveness of control strategies.
Knowledge of mouflon behavior and movements are essential, both for control efforts and for any type of population monitoring that may be implemented.
Although breeding of mouflon is known to be dispersed over a broad portion of the year, little is known about the social circumstances that may be important for the control of this species.
We surveyed 32,433 acres from helicopter beginning in November 2004 to determine abundance and population structure.
We estimated that there were more than 2,586 ± 705 (90% CI) mouflon at Kahuku.
Both these efforts must be conducted at times when the highest proportion of the population is concentrated in large groups and in open habitats when they are most highly visible to observers.
Daily and annual movement patterns are important to understand as well as traditional movement routes and use of escape terrain.