Nene population nears 3,000 statewide

  • Nene cavort on the wall at Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

    NPS photo by MICHAEL SZOENYI/File

Conservationists say a new proposal to reclassify the nene from endangered to threatened shows that “great strides” have been made in recovering the species, whose population dropped to 30 animals in 1960.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed reclassifying the nene, or Hawaiian goose, under the Endangered Species Act because it no longer is in danger of going extinct in the foreseeable future.


In addition to downlisting the nene, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes a rule that would give landowners more flexibility to manage the species on their lands and help further facilitate recovery, according to Kristi Young, deputy program manager.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the proposal through June 1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a final rule in one year.

“During this time, it would be a proposed change,” Young said. “Which is basically acknowledging the great work that the partners and the public have done. Habitat protection and predator control have improved the population of the nene. This acknowledges the species is in much better shape than it was.”

The nene was declared endangered in 1967. Today, there are more than 2,800 statewide, including 1,095 on Hawaii Island.

As the population increases and the birds expand in range, they face “potential conflict with the human environment,” Young said.

Relaxing some of the prohibitions would allow some activities normally prohibited under the Endangered Species Act as long as they are consistent with conservation. One example is hazing (nonlethal intentional harassment) to move birds away from areas to reduce human-wildlife conflicts such as vehicle crashes and crop depredation.

Young said it’s the first time a species in Hawaii has been proposed for reclassification to threatened.

“To us, this is great news,” Young said. “We’re really excited about the progress the nene have made.”

“This looks like a good idea because it seems to reflect the positive success story that this bird has undergone,” added Loyal Mehrhoff, endangered species recovery director at the Center for Biological Diversity, on Monday. “A lot of people have worked on it, from private landowners to (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife, and the population has since increased to around 3,000 birds. So it’s been a good success story. It shows the Endangered Species Act can work.”


Officials at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to a nene recovery program since the 1970s, plan to review the proposal and contribute comments to the public forum, said park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane on Monday.

Email Kirsten Johnson at

  1. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 7:17 am

    Screw this.

    No reason we need to protect some damn bird at a cost of millions

    Take the cost of saving these stupid birds and use it to build a wall to keep the darkies out or use it to fight common sense gun control.

    I am sure Pruitt can find up with more relaxed regulations to kill off these ugly bird for once and for all.

    (Comments are a satire of current events and do not reflect the vies of this poster).

  2. diverdave April 3, 2018 9:01 am

    “Young said it’s the first time a species in Hawaii has been proposed for reclassification to threatened.” Sir a designation does not save anything, people do!

    Herbert Shipman, of East Hawaii, was a conservationist. He was awarded the American Orchid Society’s Gold Medal for pioneering orchid development in Hawaiʻi and the National Geographic Society and the State credited him with saving the nene from extinction by raising them near Hāʻena Beach and on the family’s volcano ranch.

    Let’s get it right.

    1. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 10:17 am

      Yes let’s get it right. Totally right.

      This bird was hunted to near extension by total idiot humans.

      Only thru regulation and rule of law did these really stupid humans end their stupidity of killing this rare bird.

      I think removing any form of regulation of this bird will result in these really stupid humans resorting to really stupid things like once again killing these rare birds.

      So yes let’s get it right.

      1. diverdave April 3, 2018 11:49 am

        “This bird was hunted to near extension by total idiot humans.”
        These folks of course were Polynesian invaders that had killed 32 bird species, 17 of them flightless birds, in the five hundred years of occupation of the Hawaii Islands prior to contact with Capt. Cook.
        BTW, Herbert Shipman did his heroic work to save the Nene before there were any “designations”.

        1. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 12:05 pm

          Nonetheless, they were stupid humans.

          And the “designation” kept more idiots from following suit.

          So here is a current way of looking at it.

          Yet once again another idiot just used their almighty 2nd Ammendment rights at the YouTube offices in San Francisco

          Does their ethnicity, sex, religious convictions or place of origin matter as to the outcome?

        2. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 12:08 pm

          PS This bird was down to a total of 30 in 1960.

          That’s considered modern times not 500 years ago.

          So as usual, you assumed you knew what you were talking about.

          1. diverdave April 3, 2018 12:22 pm

            Herbert Shipman started his Nene goose flock with just 4 birds in 1918.
            Read Book: “The Shipmans of East Hawaii”.
            It’s in that new thing called a library, Jack.

          2. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 1:00 pm

            Has nothing to do with stupid idiot humans killing this bird for fun.

        3. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 12:20 pm

          PSPS Let’s not forget too that as recent as January if this year so shit for brains asswipe was suspected of killing 4 Nene with his B.B. gun on Kauai.

          And then the bastards in California caught with nine of these birds.

          Oh yeh. I knew you thought you knew what you were talking about.

          1. diverdave April 3, 2018 12:25 pm

            Herbert purposely sent a few pairs of Nene to England, in order to bring some back later for genetic diversity. There are Nene in many places other than Hawaii for this reason.

          2. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 1:02 pm

            I know it’s hard for you to admit but at the end of the day REGULATIONS and the threat of huge penalties with behind the bars jail time is why this bird is now flourishing here in Hawaii.

          3. diverdave April 3, 2018 1:24 pm

            In your world everything good comes from the government.

          4. Hilo Jack April 3, 2018 1:38 pm

            No. Some things do. Like saving the Nene.

            Try another straw man argument.

            But in your world the government is your anti christ.

            And that’s your reality.

            But be thankful. At least the 2nd amendment gun nut who shot up YouTube took themselves out instead of requiring us taxpayers to pay to pump in a few hundred rounds of lead into her shit for brains head.

    2. Steve Dearing April 3, 2018 7:59 pm

      Demo rats have _ _ _ _ for brains and never get it right!

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