DLNR^s Division of Forestry and Wildlife on Kaua`i sadly reports that ^Alika^ the black-tailed deer buck that many have come to visit and enjoy at the Pua Loke Forestry Arboretum had to be put down on Tuesday morning because of the thoughtless work of vandals.
According to Tom Telfer, District Wildlife Manager, "upon arriving at work early Tuesday morning, Forestry and Wildlife personnel discovered that the cyclone fencing of Alika^s pen had been cut wide open by perpetrators with unknown motives. The buck was nowhere to be seen, but tracks outside the pen revealed that he had wandered off towards a wooded gulch next to Lihu`e Sugar Mill. Personnel that normally care for the deer searched and called out for him. He appeared out of the gully and was coaxed back into the Forestry Baseyard compound. For over an hour workers tried to encourage him back into his pen without success. While attempting to guide the 200 lb. buck by using sheets of plywood for protection, the buck became very aggressive, and began charging employees with its antlers. In the interest of personnel safety, the buck had to be put down."
A mature black-tail buck can be very dangerous, and though relatively tame within its pen, caretakers could not safely enter. Alika exhibited a strange mix of tameness with wild instinct, that had become particularly noticeable during the rutting season. He had became extremely aggressive and unmanageable and unsafe to handle.
"The buck was originally obtained as an orphan fawn six years ago, and was bottle fed and reared within the Pua Loke Arboretum pen where people could enjoy him," explained Telfer. "Alika^s frequent visitors will surely miss him. Many will recall the thoughtless shooting of a similarly exhibited female black tailed deer named Elekia about nine years ago from the same pen," said Telfer, who indicated that the Division of Forestry and Wildlife will no longer exhibit wild orphaned deer, because of safety and vandalism problems associated with it.