Nene seen on Oahu after long absence
HONOLULU — Endangered nene have been spotted in the wild on Oahu for the first time in centuries, a federal agency said Monday.
A pair of nene nested and successfully hatched three goslings at a national wildlife refuge near Kahuku on the North Shore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Authorities have been flying nene from Kauai, where the population has been growing rapidly, to Maui and the Big Island by helicopter and Coast Guard plane to establish populations on those islands.
The nene pair at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge near Kahuku found their own way to Oahu and weren’t transported by humans, said Ken Foote, a spokesman for the agency. He declined to release further information, saying the agency will talk to media about the geese on Wednesday.
Nene — the official state bird — is an endangered species found only in Hawaii. There are more than 2,000 remaining in the wild. Scientists believe the birds are descendants of Canada geese that flew here nearly 1 million years ago. They lost habitat to agriculture after Polynesians arrived in Hawaii about 1,000 years ago. When the first Europeans landed in 1778, the birds were only known to live on the Big Island. Fossilized remains of nene, however, have been found on Oahu and most of the other main Hawaiian Islands.
Unrestricted hunting after Europeans arrived took out even more of the birds. By 1952, there were just 30 left.
Steve Hess, a U.S. Geological Survey wildlife biologist, said the nene fly long distances — they’re known to cross the Big Island in a day — so it’s not surprising that they would fly to Oahu.
“But the fact that they would stop and raise youngsters over there — that’s pretty remarkable,” said Hess, who has studied nene but is not involved with the Oahu geese.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.