Big Island park rangers ask drivers to look out for nene

Big Island park rangers ask drivers to look out for nene

VOLCANO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nene are beginning to show their faces more often in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as warmer weather approaches.

As the nene become more active in the coming months, the park is asking drivers to be cautious while driving in and out of the park.

Nene are native to Hawaii and are the rarest geese in the world. With the arrival of spring, these birds have started to flock and the younger nene are beginning to take their first flights.

"Young fledglings test out their wings and explore new territories this time of year," said wildlife biologist Kathleen Misajon, manager of the Nene Recovery Program at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

"The park uses nene crossing signs to alert motorists to key areas, however, until the young birds learn the ropes from their parents, the areas they choose to land can be unpredictable," Misajon said.

Last week, two young nene that were about six months old were hit by a car and killed on the park's Crater Rim Drive. Nene can be difficult for drivers to spot because they blend in with the surroundings.

"It's so important to be extra vigilant when driving so these kinds of accidents don't happen," Misajon said.

The nene population was nearly decimated in the 1950s, when there were only 30 birds statewide. Thanks to conservation efforts, there are more than 2,500 nene in Hawaii today.

If you see nene on the road in the park, you can call (808) 985-6170. If outside the park, you can call (808) 974-4221.

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