Maui Chameleon Hunting and Export

aggiegrad2012

New Member
First off, I am new to the forum as this is my first post! I'm still not sure what everyone's mindset is on wild collection; but I have my reasons that I will address at the end.

To start off the adventure I began my research months in advance in order to hunt down these forest jewels. I got a hold of an extremely nice and cooperative fellow by the name of Joshua Attwood, he helped me through all of the permitting process. I also dealt with Rosemary Tachera, she finished my final permitting process. They both work for the Hawaii dept. of Land and Natural Resources. if you want their contact info I can send it to you via PM.

All of the information that I found on the internet was outdated and most of it wrong. The first rule says that the chameleon has to accompany you in the cabin, but upon talking with josh he told me otherwise. All they have to do is accompany you on the flight out of Hawaii, whether it be carry-on, checked baggage ($100 fee through Alaska), or cargo. Since Alaska airlines only allows the transport of cats and dogs in the cabin to and from Hawaii, the next cheapest option was check baggage. I would recommend that if you truly intend to dedicate a big part of your trip to chameleon collection and transport, try to get a flight with no connections. Or at least a connection with the same airline. I ran into trouble were I changed from Alaska to United. United doesn't allow the transport of animals as checked bags and doesn't allow reptiles in the cabin. The only option for United is cargo (min rate of $189). I traveled with my family and wasn't in charge of the flights so I didn't get to choose the airlines. Also check your state to make sure it is ok to bring the lizards in, fortunately California and Texas both do.

The second rule was that you had to visit the main office on the main island to get the permit. 100% false, I was able to get my permit completely through email without any visit to the main island. Be sure to print several (4+) copies just in case, everyone will want to see it or make a copy. I carried one with me, had a few extras in my pocket, one went in the crate, and another taped to the top of be carrier. Being a maverick at this I wanted to make sure all of my bases were covered.

When I arrived in Hawaii I spoke with the ticketing representatives that I was flying back to the states with. This helped immensely as it dissolved any confusion and helped me with the rules on approved Alaska airlines packaging.

I flew through Alaska Airlines from Kahului International (OGG). Although they hadn't ever seen/dealt with shipping chameleons they were accommodating. Both managers that were on duty made it an easy process. They will need to be checked by the dept. of agriculture (state policy, all checked bags go through a dept. of ag. check) as well as TSA doing a final check on the packaging so be sure to pack your chameleons so they can easily be accessed multiple times. Pictures of their shipping container is below. The container with the two toilet paper rolls was for the gold dust day geckos that I also was able to take back via the same permitting process.

I wanted to not only herp in Hawaii but also collect in order to start my own group. I am not looking to make any money on these guys, just to enjoy the fun and amazing habits of the species. I went through all of the permitting and shipping processes and came back with four jacksons (3 females and 1 male) and 4 gold dust day geckos, per what my permit allowed me to take.
 

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Hawaiian style

New Member
Nice! I plan to take some Jackson's home to a few family members this Christmas for presents!! My cuz got me a rose haired tarantula for Christmas once and asked for a Jackson's. this info is very helpful!!!
 

Camsofcali

New Member
Great info!!! I will be doing the same thing you did in feb/march of next year. May I ask what part of the island was the most productive for catching the Jacksons and how did they acclimate to captivity?
 

aggiegrad2012

New Member
Kula seems to be the place to go, later tonight I will upload a map that shows the place that people were cluing me in on where to find them. Although we visited most of those places with no luck, we ended up finding them on a tree on the side of the road, figures. Oddly enough I think this male had three females because they were all basking within inches of each other. They acclimated very well, took to eating immediately, however one is having shedding issues currently.
 

pohchunyee

Avid Member
I was wondering if there is any law against exporting jackson chameleons out of hawaii to another country since they are considered invasive species.
 
When I was last in Kauai, I was actually told that exporting chameleons (or any invasive species) from Hawaii was illegal. Initially I didn't understand why they wouldn't want to get rid of as many invasive animals as possible. But, then it was explained to me, and made perfect sense:

The State of Hawaii does not want people releasing invasive animals on the island so that they breed and reproduce naturally (and for free), only to be regularly harvested for profit and then exported.

Made total sense to me.

I can't speak to the exact rules, this is just what was told to me by someone familiar with the issue.
 

pohchunyee

Avid Member
it does make sense. But then, why don't they try to get rid of the invasive species if it proves to be detrimental to the environment?
 
it does make sense. But then, why don't they try to get rid of the invasive species if it proves to be detrimental to the environment?

Because if they allowed exportation of invasive animals, others would be encouraged to release sellable invasive animals to start wild breeding colonies that could be drawn from for profit.
 

APailthorp

Member
I'm visiting in Hawaii right now, today we went by the very lovely Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden on Oahu. I was talking with a nice guide who was showing us some of the very exotic plants from around the world, and I asked about chameleons. Boy, you would have thought I said "baby satan" three times while twirling in a circle. I explained that my pet chameleon was in Seattle and not a threat in Hawaii, and that I heard some kept pet Jackson's, which were the problem. The point of view of my guide was that people often tired of the chameleon pets, and released them back into the wild to cause trouble.

Later I found this page - none for Jackson's, but if my Veiled ends up looking like the guy in the photo, I may find myself intimidated. Look at those claws!
http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/info/species/veiled-chameleon/
 

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Mikael

New Member
I'm in Maui right now and I would love to find some jacksons! Are there lots or are they pretty hard to find?
 

aggiegrad2012

New Member
If you are in the right spot it's like picking berries off a bush. We found them on the road to kula. We took a little pull out on the side of the road. It was still early and the sun hadn't hit the plants yet and we couldn't find a single thing. Then when the sun hit the trees they just appeared like manic!
 

KevinMcI

New Member
Jackson's hunting on Maui

Hi Mikael,
I was on Maui last summer with my wife om our honeymoon. We took a drive over to Kula to look for some Jacksons ( she a good sport,that's why I married her- :), It was Route 37, I believe. I found a little park called Kula Park, at an intersection with another road that turns up the mountain. On the uphill side of the road, I walked into an area of low lying bushes. Within 1 minute I spotted a male sitting about 5 feet up on a branch. While holding him, I looked across the open area and found a female on a lower bush about 20 feet away.
I must say, after keeping herps for over 50 years, and mainly Chams for the past 20, it was a great thrill to see then in a wild state. I wanted to bring them back to breed with ones I have back here in the states, but I did not have the necessary permits and the airline I took didn't allow them on board. So we took a couple of pictures and returned them to their spots. If I can figure out how to post the pictures I will.

Good luck

Kevin M
 

mocapper

Member
When I went to Maui we found a lot in trees and hedges in the neighborhoods of Makawao. I paid a bunch of kids to lead me to them :) I then asked the owners of the trees if they minded if I looked for chams in their yards. Everyone was really friendly and had no problem showing me around their yards. I found a pair of Jacksons mating even and a couple of babies. Let me tell you it was incredibly hard not to just grab them all and take them home :) Next time I go I'll be doing the permit thing as well!

Ant
 

ChamSky

New Member
I will be visiting Maui as well this July for 2 weeks and my inner herp nerd hopes that I get to spot and photograph some wild chams! I just recently learned that they were invasive to Hawaii. Which to me is thrilling because I get to see an animal rarely seen in the wild close to home! (Just like the wild parrots in Cali) this was a very interesting read, thanks for sharing!
 

Montium

New Member
Hawaii takes xenophobia to new levels. For a place so worried about invasive species they only inspect you when you leave the islands. So most of their policies are counter productive.
 

Montium

New Member
Oh and for those looking to find chams, go to the coffee plantations there are quite a few in those areas, at least in Hawaii county.
 
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