Day of Awareness for Hawaii State Bird

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - It's Nene Awareness Day, a time to pay homage to our state bird.  The Honolulu Zoo is the home to eleven nene.

They are on the endangered species list and only about 500 exist in our state.   They faced near extinction in the 1950s but have made a slight comeback.

"One of the reasons they're not doing well in the wild is because of the predators like the mongoose, feral cats," said Zookeeper, Susan Arbuthnot. "Also, invasive species. We're talking like plants mainly. A lot of the plants are encroaching on their native food."

The nene are descendents of canadian geese who arrived in Hawaii 500,000 years ago.  They've since evolved to become a separate species.

Most nene are on the big island, where they live around volcanoes.