HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -After 60 years of conservation efforts, Hawaii’s state bird is off the endangered species list.
On Sunday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services announced the change in status of the Hawaiian Nene Goose from endangered to threatened.
The Hawaiian Goose has been listed as endangered since 1967. At one point, there were only 30 nene in the wild, and 13 in captivity.
Over the years, environmentalists have worked to restore the population of the birds, and they have indeed rebounded. Experts now say there are roughly 2,800 birds roaming the islands.
“The great thing here is, we’re moving this bird from the emergency room, or intensive care unit. It’s still in the hospital, and we still need to be protective of it, and thoughtful of it, but we’re doing it in a way that as we downlist it to a threatened species, we ensure that there’s some flexibility built in for the neighbors and folks that will have more experience with these birds as the population grows,” David Bernhardt, Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior said.
The decision to downlist the species got a positive response from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) who said in a statement, “The recovery of the nene shows how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work. With a science-based recovery plan and a strong partnership between the state and federal governments, the species has gradually rebounded.”
Schatz also acknowledged much is yet to be done to continue to protect the birds.
The nene, which is native to Hawaii, was named as the official bird of the islands in 1957.
They get their name “nene” because of the soft, gentle call they make.