Public advised to ‘give nene space,' be vigilant on roads during - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Public advised to ‘give nene space,' be vigilant on roads during breeding and nesting season

Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Janice Wei Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Janice Wei
Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon
Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi Photo Courtesy: NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Visitors and residents are urged to drive with caution through areas surrounding Hawaii Volcanoes National Park due to nene breeding and nesting season.

Nene crossing signs posted throughout the park call attention to roadside areas frequented by nene. These include sections of Highway 11, Crater Rim Drive, and Chain of Craters Road. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nene crossing areas and to obey posted speed limits.  

“Nene are easily habituated to food hand-outs from people and vehicles, and these birds often fall victim to vehicle strikes,” said Kathleen Misajon, Nene Recovery Program manager at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “One of the most important things people can do is give nene space, this means not approaching them and never feeding them.”

Nene, the largest native land animal in Hawaii, can be hard for motorists to spot and blend in with their surroundings. While getting ready to nest, the geese are focused on eating, and often forage from dawn to dusk.

Breeding and nesting season is vital to the nene’s survival and during this seasonal window they are most vulnerable to being run over by drivers.

 “While we have had success protecting nene and maintaining the population in the park it is so important that humans keep a respectful distance from the geese, especially during this sensitive time. We advise visitors to keep at least 60 feet away from nene, any time of year,” Misajon said. 

By 1952, only 30 birds remained statewide.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s. 

Today, as many as 2,500 nene exist statewide. 

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