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Woman cited for feeding cats in Hilo park, endangering native wildlife

By Frances Lin

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    HILO, Hawaii (KITV) — A 66-year-old woman from Hilo, Doreen Torres, has been cited by the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) for allegedly feeding feral cats in Queen Liliʻoukalani Park and Gardens, sparking concerns over the safety of native wildlife.

Torres received two citations for violating state endangered and threatened species laws, which prohibit the feeding of protected wildlife. DOCARE officers observed Torres putting out food for feral cats both this morning and last Saturday. The concern stems from the potential risk to nēnē, endangered Hawaiian geese, which may consume the cat food.

This comes after the recent tragic death of a one-month-old nēnē gosling in the park. Investigators suspect toxoplasmosis, a disease transmitted through the feces of cats, is a contributing factor to the gosling’s demise.

In response to the incident, the DLNR issued a news release earlier today outlining the concerns expressed by wildlife biologists regarding the feeding of cats in public spaces, particularly within Queen Liliʻuokalani Park. The release emphasizes the potential harm posed to native wildlife populations and highlights the importance of adhering to conservation regulations.

Torres is scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court on June 21 to face charges of misdemeanor offenses.

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