Keoni was born and raised in Oahu and has worked hard to position the sanctuary as the #1 place to visit in Lanai. He has worked with travel websites to create viral content that has increased the awareness of the sanctuary in the area. 95% of the sanctuary’s donations come from visitors and a quick commuter plane or ferry ride will bring in tourists for a great day trip to visit.
When given the opportunity to work at the sanctuary, he jumped on it. Despite only having about 3,000 people on the island and it being remote, he was determined to help solve the cat overpopulation issue, despite the limited resources. Him and his team focus attention on where endangered birds live and breed, in order to create the safe environment they need. By using trail cams, along with help from the community, they are able to watch for the colonies and take cats they find to the sanctuary when needed.
Believe it or not, 95% of the cats that come to them from the island have never seen a human before! That is why it’s also important for Keoni to work on socializing these cats, as well, which about 40% of them are doing well with at this time. Most adoptions they do make happen tend to come from off of the island, so it’s important to work with the cats’ socialization at the sanctuary on a daily basis.
He has also written an article about building sanctuaries in other parts of the country and what the tips and ideas are relevant that he would give. It can be a struggle, but he has learned how to be efficient. He discussed the many requests he gets to build sanctuaries in other parts of the country, but he is adamant about really being able to sit down and evaluate the specific scenario and to start slow!
For more information, head to lanaicatsanctuary.org.