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You’ve heard of whale watching in Hawaii, but how about nene watching?
The endemic Hawaiian goose can be spotted soaring overheard or grazing with goslings from November to April.
However, this time of the year can be very busy for the nene because they’re focused on breeding and nesting. The females build up their fat reserves for laying eggs, and once they do, the males stand guard for the 30-day incubation period. If they’re not on nest duty, then they’re most likely on food duty – foraging from whatever food sources possible.
You will most commonly see nene at national parks year-round, but it is this time of year, in particular, that is most important for their survival. Sadly, nene have been on the endangered species list for quite some time. In the 1940s, only 50 remained.
Park officials take extra precaution in protecting our state bird by posting signage and closing off certain areas of the park where nene have been spotted. Visitors should be careful when driving around the park, especially during low-light times of the day.
As part of the Nene Recovery Program, national parks in Hawaii adhere to these strict rules during this time of year. The program has helped to boost the number of nene in Hawaii from 50 to about 2,000, which is still considered a level of danger for the species. It is, therefore, imperative that we do our part in protecting the nene; we may watch them from afar, but please try not to disturb them.
To report nee on the road inside of a national park, call 808-85-6001. Outside of the park, call 808-974-4221.