State recognizes Army for its efforts

| February 22, 2018 | 1 Comment

Tyler Bogardus, Army’s Oahu Natural Resources Program, was recognized by the State of Hawaii this month for his efforts to control invasive rodents. These efforts help the Army protect threatened and endangered species it manages, like Oahu ‘elepaio he holds here. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Army’s ‘rat man’ among honorees at Hawaii capitol

Stefanie Gutierrez
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Every day, warriors across Hawaii are waging a behind-the-scenes battle, and that battle took center stage, Feb. 9, as a handful of warriors were recognized in a special ceremony at the state capitol.

Gov. David Ige and several members of the State Legislature honored eight individuals and groups from various islands for outstanding service to Hawaii in the fight against invasive species.

Ige also signed a Hawaii Invasive Species Month proclamation, in which the State Legislature described invasive species as “the single greatest threat to Hawai‘i’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”

(Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Tyler Bogardus, a small mammal control biologist with the Army’s Oahu Natural Resources Program, was one of this year’s honorees. Bogardus received the “Greatest Hit” award for his efforts to control invasive rodents.

“I was surprised to get the award, but I was more surprised it was an individual award because the work really is a team effort,” he said.

Bogardus and the natural resources team stayed especially busy on the rodent control front last year.

(Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

They started a trial to determine the effectiveness of rat birth control; installed more than 1,000 carbon dioxide-powered, self-resetting rat traps in the Waianae mountains; and conducted a rodenticide application in a fenced portion of the Schofield Barracks training range. The efforts all had one goal in mind: giving threatened and endangered species like the Oahu ‘elepaio, a native flycatcher bird, a fighting chance for survival. Rats are a large threat because they prey on many of these species for their next meal.

“Of the more than 100 species we are required to manage, at least 50 percent of them are susceptible to rat predation of some sort,” said Kapua Kawelo, manager of the Army’s Oahu Natural Resources Program. “That’s why Tyler’s and the team’s work is so important.”

Kawelo leads Army’s efforts to manage threatened and endangered species on its Oahu installations in support of military training needs and natural resources requirements. Much of her program’s work is focused on invasive species.

“Conservation in Hawaii and invasive species control are synonymous. In order to do conservation here, you can’t just manage the rare species, you have to understand what the invasive species threats are and address them,” Kawelo added.

For Bogardus, not only does that mean looking to the future and researching the best, newest methods out there, it also means forming partnerships.

“None of the projects we did last year would have been possible without the relationships we’ve made over the years,” he said. “Honestly, it’s all about relationships.”

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  1. Tina Baker says:

    I applaud the use of non poisonous means to reduce and control the rats which present a huge problem to not only other species but in disease control. Keep up the good work

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