Hawaii’s State Bird Soars Back From The Brink Of Extinction

Every US state has a state bird. And for a while, the state bird of Hawaii had found itself on the list of endangered species. However, thanks to around six decades of conservative efforts, Hawaii News Now was happy to report that the Hawaiian Nene Goose is off the list!

Of course, it’s not completely out of the woods yet. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services simply made the change from “endangered” to “threatened,” meaning that there is still a ways to go.

The nene had been on the endangered list since 1967 because there was one point in time when there were only 30 nenes left in the wild and an even smaller number of 13 living in captivity!

Environmentalists over the years have worked tirelessly to help boost the numbers. Their dedication has paid off – they’ve managed to restore the number of nenes back up to nearly 2,800 birds that are now calling the Hawaiian Islands home.

“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,” commented the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, David Bernhardt, according to Hawaii News Now.

The judgment call to down-list the Nene was met with positivity from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who released a statement saying, “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 followed up with the importance of taking additional precautions to continue to keep the birds protected so their numbers can continue to rise.

Even though their federal status has changed, the nene will continue to see implemented safeguards to keep the species on the rise – since, after all, they are still on the “threatened” list.

The nene is a native bird of Hawaii. It wasn’t until 1957 that it was officially named as the state’s bird. The name “nene” was derived from the mellow call that they make.

People had different reactions to the news about the nene:

Mary Stone Lamb wrote, “If it weren’t for crossword puzzles, I wouldn’t know what a nene was!”

Jenny Warren stated, “Nenes are lovely geese and are very gentle when being hand-fed. Much friendlier than their cousins, Canada geese, who will try and mug you! The WWT in Slimbridge has had a breeding program for Nene for years and quite a few other places in the UK have flocks of them. It’s good to know their numbers are at last increasing in Hawaii.”

And a third person, Karan Spencer, commented, “We still have to be careful and take care of the nene…”

Hopefully, this positive news will inspire a continued conservation effort for all endangered animals.

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Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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