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Face of Defense: Game Wardens Keep Tabs on Base ‘Critters’

By Kristen Wong
Marine Corps Base Hawaii

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Kaneohe Bay, June 22, 2012 – Whether helping to reunite pets with their owners, or setting up a perimeter for a monk seal, the Game Warden’s Office here is ready to provide support for the base’s animals, large and small.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Mark Takekawa, an animal enforcement technician at the Game Warden's Office on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, reaches in to retrieve a food dish in a trap meant for stray cats on June 4, 2012. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kristen Wong

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The office is generally in charge of both animal care and environmental protection at the base, according to Mark Takekawa, an animal enforcement technician assigned to the office. Game warden operations here fall under the Provost Marshal’s Office.

Office staff and volunteers alert base law enforcement of animal-related issues by patrolling the installation, Takekawa said.

“We’re the eyes and ears of PMO,” Takekawa said, noting he’s worked at the Game Warden’s Office here for seven years.

The office has three paid staff, and 25 volunteers. Selected volunteers are trained in various skills such as catching stray dogs.

Takekawa said volunteers are split into groups, with each serving a different purpose. One is dedicated to trapping animals on the base such as mongoose or feral cats. Other groups do administrative work, while others maintain the office grounds. Other volunteers patrol certain areas of the base to ensure compliance with fishing regulations.

Clyde Sasaki, from Honolulu, said he’s been a game warden volunteer at the base for 15 years. Sasaki described the base as very beautiful, with nice fishing grounds. He said it’s very rewarding for him to help preserve its natural resources.

The office staff also helps keep track of the domestic and feral animals on base. Base residents are required to register their pets.

There are more than 2,000 animals currently registered on the base, officials said. Residents are also required to notify the Game Warden if they no longer own the pet they have registered.

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