Keeping Kauai free of mongooses remains a priority to protect beleaguered Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters as a sixth animal is found

Mongoose 2023 05 05 Nawiliwili Kauai
Kauai’s sixth Small Indian Mongoose, live trapped on 05 May 2023, photograph from the Hawai’i Department of Health

The Hawaiian island of Kaua’i is home to important breeding populations of Endangered Hawaiian Petrels Pterodroma sandwichensis and Critically Endangered Newell’s Shearwaters Puffinus newelli. On the island both seabird species are at risk to predation by feral cats and domestic pigs, but not as yet to mongooses.

Small Indian Mongooses Urva auropunctata were first introduced in 1883 to the main Hawaiian Islands from Jamaica (although native to Asia) to control rats in sugarcane fields. They are now widespread on the Big Island of Hawaii, Oahu, Maui and Molokai. Kauai so far remains free of an established population. However, at least six mongooses have been definitely recorded on Kauai over the last five decades as listed below (click here for more details). Five of the six have been live-trapped and then euthanized by the Hawai’i Department of Health – Vector Control Branch and the Kaua’i Invasive Species Committee after initial sightings. The most recent mongoose on Kauai was caught after a week from its initial sighting this month by deploying no less than 43 live traps. In addition, there have been hundreds of unconfirmed sightings on the island since 1968, raising concerns there could be a breeding population in existence. However, biological evidence for this is said to be scant, following an island-wide status review that also developed standard response protocols for sightings .

Definite Records

1976. Lactating female found dead along a road near Kalaheo

May 2012. Adult male captured near the Lihue Airport

June 2012. Captured near the Nawiliwili Harbour (click here)

October 2016. Captured at Lihue Airport

December 2021. Captured in Nawiliwili Harbour (click here)

April/May 2023. Captured in Nawiliwili Harbour (click here)

Mongoose Kauai 28 December 2021
The fifth Small Indian Mongoose recorded on Kauai, 28 December 2012, photograph from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Read more here.


Duffy, D. C. & Capece, P.I. 2014. Depredation of endangered burrowing seabirds in Hawai’i: management priorities. Marine Ornithology 42: 149-152. (click here)

Phillips, R.B. & Lucey, B.  2015? Kauai Mongoose Standard Operating Procedures to Conduct an Island-wide Status Assessment and Early Detection Rapid Response. [Kapaa: Kaua’i Invasive Species Committee]. 24 pp.

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 31 May 2023

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

About ACAP

ACAP Secretariat

119 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000

Tel: +61 3 6165 6674