News: MCB Hawaii Game Warden’s Office on patrol for animals
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay - Marine Corps Base Hawaii is not only for the military, dependents and civilians. Animals aboard the base; domestic, feral and otherwise; also call the Mokapu Peninsula home. There is even a department on base dedicated to domestic animal control, care and, (in collaboration with the base’s environmental staff), assistance with local wildlife.
The Game Warden’s Office is generally in charge of both “animal care and environmental protection” aboard the base, according to Mark Takekawa, an animal enforcement technician with the Game Warden’s Office aboard MCB Hawaii. This office falls under the Provost Marshal’s Office and is located at Bldg. 3099 across the flightline.
Though the Game Warden’s Office is not the authority that issues citations, the staff and volunteers do help alert base law enforcement of violations by patrolling the base on a regular basis.
“We’re the eyes and ears of PMO,” Takekawa said.
Takekawa, who started out as a volunteer for 10 years, has been employed with the Game Warden for seven years.
The Game Warden’s office has three paid staff, and 25 volunteers. The Game Warden has enlisted the help of volunteers for at least the last 40 years. Each volunteer comes from a different background, whether they were a fire captain or a pilot. All potential volunteers apply, and if chosen, are trained in various skills, such as catching stray dogs. Volunteers are also split into groups; each serving a different purpose for the Game Warden’s Office.
One group is dedicated to trapping animals on the base such as mongoose or feral cats. Some groups do administrative work for the Game Warden’s Office, while others maintain the grounds around Bldg. 3099. Some patrol certain areas, to ensure compliance with base fishing regulations.
Clyde Sasaki has been a volunteer for the Game Warden’s Office for 15 years. Sasaki, of Honolulu, has been interested in the conservation program on base and has fished on the base for many years. He spends about 12 hours each month volunteering with the Game Warden’s Office.
Sasaki described the base as very beautiful with nice fishing grounds. He said it’s very rewarding for him to know that he takes an active role in preserving the resources on base.
To help ensure compliance with fishing regulations on base, the Game Warden staff also educates non-military patrons who wish to fish on base. After they have applied for a fishing pass from the H-3 gate Pass House, patrons will take a class through the Game Warden’s Office to learn the regulations.
But aside from patrolling, the staff at the Game Warden’s Office also helps maintain order in terms of domestic and feral animals on base.
Base residents who own a dog or a cat are required by Base Order P5233.2 to register their animals with the Game Warden’s Office. The order mandates that service members who are newly stationed aboard MCB Hawaii must register their pet within two days of arriving on base. The registration process can still be initiated even if the pet is not old enough to receive all of their required shots.
There are more than 2,000 animals currently registered aboard MCB Hawaii. Base residents are also required to notify the Game Warden if they no longer own the pet they have registered, whether it was given away or is deceased. Recently, the base has encountered numerous feral cats, which may have been the result of owners setting their pets free. If a resident no longer wants their pet, Sasaki recommends giving the pet to the Game Warden’s Office, rather than setting it free.
The Game Warden’s Office is open from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The volunteers and staff do, however, work seven days a week, and are available by phone if there are emergencies on the weekend.
If a base resident sees a lost, stray, injured or deceased animal, they are asked to contact the Game Warden’s Office. Base residents who have lost a dog or cat are encouraged to call the Game Warden’s Office first. In many cases, Takekawa said the owners have been reunited with their pets.
“Especially if it’s an injured dog, the tendency to bite is high,”
The Game Warden’s Office also becomes involved if there are domestic animal attacks or cases of abuse and neglect on base. The Game Warden staff puts together an incident report for the Base Inspector’s Office.
The staff and volunteers at the Game Warden’s Office collaborate not only with PMO, but also the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department, and the Facilities Department.
During the winter months, when shearwater birds are known to become disoriented, the Game Warden’s Office assists the Environmental Department staff in retrieving them. They will ultimately be taken to Sea Life Park for rehabilitation and release.
The Game Warden’s Office also assists the Environmental Department and representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when a monk seal is discovered on base and needs to be relocated.
Whether helping to reunite pets with their owners, or setting up a perimeter for a monk seal, the Game Warden’s Office continues to provide support for the base’s animals, large and small.
For details about animal regulations on base, check out Base Order P5233.2 at http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/g1/adjutant/Borders.htm under the “General Administration” link.
For more information about the Game Warden’s Office or even general inquiries about animal care, call the staff at 257-1821.