Another endangered species in Hawaii is the Nene (neh neh) or Hawaiian Goose and is amongst the thirty bird species classified as endangered by the Federal and State Governments. The Nene is found ONLY in Hawaii and introduced as the State Bird in 1959 when Hawaii became the 50th state.
Even after 40 years of reintroduction with breeding the Nene in captivity and releasing them into the wild the Nene still struggles to survive mainly due to introduced predators and the loss of feeding habitat.
Following are a few historic points regarding the decline in Nene population:
- It is said that the Canada Goose and Nene were derived from a common ancestor over a half million years ago but the one distinct difference is that the Canadian Goose breeds in the summer whereas the Nene breeds in the winter.
- Polynesians started arriving around 1200 years ago and introduced the Polynesian Rat and that's when the Nene population started declining.
- The Rat quickly populated the islands and changed the food source for many birds and insects.
- Westerners brought guns and the Nene was sought for food.
- A trade in salted Nene meat with sailing ships existed in the 1800's and in the mid 18900's there were an estimated 25,000 birds.
- Then they were widely hunted for food until they banned hunting in 1907.
- By 1949 there were only 30 birds living in the uplands of the island of Hawaii (Big Island)
- They used to be distributed amongst all the Hawaiian islands but now only live in limited locations on the islands of Hawaii, Molokai, Kauai and Maui.
- The Nene were mainly saved by the efforts of wildlife biologists from England and Hawaii and from 1918 until 1960 there were 2,300 young raised and released to the wild on all four islands.
- There are still only an estimated 1300 Nene in the wild after 40 years of intense captive breeding and being released.
The Hawaiian island forests have the top 20 most threatened Bird Habitats in the United States.
Whether you are visiting, relocating or residing in the State of Hawaii please respect our land and wildlife so we can protect our endangered species.
Other endangered species stories:
© 2008 Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, All rights reserved
Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman is a Realtor-Associate with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocating to Hawaii, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents. Website: www.hawaiihomesmarket.com