Slow down for nene: 3 birds killed on Hawaii Island prompts message to drivers

One of the dead nene goose recently found on Hawaii Island.
One of the dead nene goose recently found on Hawaii Island.(HAWAIIAN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK)
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:32 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Slow down, especially in known nene goose breeding grounds. That’s the message from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park officials after three birds were killed on Hawaii Island.

The rare nene goose is Hawaii’s state bird. Park officials said the deaths of the three birds were caused by drivers who were speeding and inattentive to the road.

The birds were struck along the Chain of Craters Road in the park. The latest death was Thursday morning ― a male nene whose mate was hit and killed on the same road just last week.

“We need everyone to slow down, watch out for wildlife and understand that the park is their habitat,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “It is also imperative that people never feed nene. Besides being unhealthy for the birds, feeding wildlife gets them comfortable around humans and vehicles, which all too often has a fatal outcome.”

About 165 nene reside at the park, and nene crossing signs are posted throughout the park.

The population of the birds has rebounded since their lowest point in 1952, when only 30 known birds remained statewide. Today, there are about 3,500 throughout the state.

Their mating season, which runs from October through May, is critical for their survival. The park says wild nene are found only in Hawaii and are the last survivor of several other endemic geese.

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