Happy Earth Day! Called the nene for the sound it makes, the endemic Hawaiian goose (known also as the nene), is the state bird and RAREST goose in the world.

It's estimated that 25,000 birds inhabited the islands of Hawaii before Captain Cook arrived in the 1770s. By the mid-1900s they had disappeared from the other islands, and only 30 remained on the Big Island. In 1967 the nene was declared endangered. Thanks to recovery efforts including breeding in captivity and release to the wild, the nene population is now up to about 3000 across Hawaii (the Big Island), and has been reintroduced successfully to Kauai and Maui. Last year the nene goose was upgraded from “endangered” to “threatened” status. It's likely that nene will always need some support and intervention as human introduced predators, competitors, and changes to their habitat across the islands are too much for the nene goose to overcome without assistance.

The unique Hawaiian nene goose has evolved to life on our islands. Unlike other geese, nene seldom swim (and have only partial foot webbing), do not migrate (and have proportionally smaller wings than other geese), and have evolved to life on rocky lava fields (with longer toes and extra foot padding). While they have been tracked flying across the Big Island, they spend most of the time on the ground with less flight than typical for geese, they mate on land, and they have adapted to nesting on the ground rather than on watery shore lines. Nene are herbivores that like to nest in a kipuka -an area under a solitary shrub in a barren lava field.

Nene love grazing on golf courses! So please heed the slow speed limit as you drive within our Mauna Lani Resort or on the golf courses, and keep your eyes open for slow-walking nene geese. You may also see nene geese in Volcanoes National Park. The park participates in monitoring the nene, and will post signage during mating and nesting season warning park visitors to drive slowly along the park roads, and marking off nesting areas so that nests are not disturbed.

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Happy Earth Day from Hale O' Honu'ea
Hawaiian Goose (Nēnē) - Honolulu Zoo
The Nene is one of 30 birds species in Hawaii classified by both the State and Federal government as an endangered species. It is Hawaii's state bird, which adds a special impetus to its preservation as a symbol of native Hawaiian wildlife.

Happy Earth Day from Hale O' Honu'ea
40 Fascinating Facts About the Hawaiian Goose (aka Nene Goose)
To understand why the Hawaiian goose (a.k.a. Nene goose) is so endangered, first you need to understand the incredible uniqueness of its native habitat. Located out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian archipelago was created by active volcanoes, many of which still erupt and ooze lava today.

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