LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii's native goose, the Nene is in the middle of its breeding season, reports of loose dogs and cats hunting Nene geese have been on the rise.
On Thursday, four goslings were found dead along the side of Kilauea Road on Kauai. Given the nature of their injuries, the deaths are believed to be the result of attacks by dogs.
Since then, three more goslings were found dead and one more seriously injured along Kilauea and Kauapea roads. The injured gosling appeared to have been attacked by a dog and succumbed to its injuries shortly after being picked up by DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) staff.
"Nesting adults and goslings are especially vulnerable this time of year." said DOFAW biologist Jean Olbert. "We are asking that the community keep their pets indoors, on leash, or in a fenced yard to prevent further attacks from taking place."
Nene goslings are flightless for their first 2-3 months of life and breeding adults are often reluctant to leave their nest or young behind when faced with predators, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
Adult Nene are also flightless once a year for several weeks as their drop their flight feathers in the process of molting.
"We are asking the local community and visitors to the island to be extra vigilant from January to mid-May, while the Nene are tending to their flightless goslings, as well as molting" said Heather Tonneson, Refuge Manager at Kilauea. "We greatly appreciate everyone's help in supporting protection and successful recovery of the Nene."
To protect Hawaii's native bird, officials recommend keeping your pets indoors, on leash, in a kennel or in a fenced yard. Help keep Nene wild; do not feed them as it is harmful and will encourage them to beg near people, and be attracted to roadways and other hazards. Please observe speed limits and slow down for Nene and their families.
To report a loose dog, please call the Kaua'i Humane Society at (808) 632-0610. To report an injured or dead bird, please call the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife Kauai office at (808) 274-3433.