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15
Hawaii park seeks hunters of feral sheep

Associated Press — Sept. 30, 2004

VOLCANO, Hawaii — Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is looking for volunteers with rifles to help rid the park's new 116,000 acres of thousands of feral sheep.

The National Park Service recently acquired the land on the Big Island from Kahuku Ranch. With the land came thousands of mouflon sheep, native to Corsica and Sardinia in the Mediterranean, that were brought to the ranch for hunting in the 1960s. Their population has multiplied over the years because they have no natural predators.

"Their grazing inhibits the regeneration of Hawaii's endemic plants, which are defenseless against sheep, goats and other chompers and stompers," the park service said in a news release.

The park service is required by law to control alien species that interfere with native species or habitats, park spokesman Jim Gale said.

The park service will conduct a public lottery Nov. 8 to select participants in the hunt, officials said. The project will continue indefinitely and lotteries will be held every six months, officials said.

There will be no limit on the number of sheep taken, and volunteers will be encouraged to keep the meat, the park service said.

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