First Oahu nene since 1700s likely from Big Island

Published On: Mar 26 2014 11:34:34 AM HST   Updated On: Mar 26 2014 08:36:55 PM HST


A federal biologist says a pair of endangered Hawaiian geese that have hatched goslings and settled on Oahu's north shore were probably on their way back to Kauai from the Big Island when they stopped in Kahuku.

Annie Marshall of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday the nene pair were taken from Kauai to the Big Island within the last two years as part of a program to move geese away from lagoons next to the Lihue airport.

They are the first Hawaiian geese to make a home on Oahu since at least the 1700s. They were first observed on the island around Jan. 9.  The female laid four eggs in February.  Three hatched on March 13.

"They look really good. They are moving around well. They are moving across the refuge and they are finding all kinds of good grass and grass seeds and flower leaves. It looks like they are doing well," said Marshall.

Wildlife officials say another pair of nene were spotted at Makapuu on Oahu's south shore but they didn't stay.  

The endangered Hawaiian goose is found only in the Hawaiian Islands.  There are more than 2,000 remaining in the wild.

"Our hope is as the nene recover and the population increases, this is what recovering will look like. Nene are going to start to occur in places where they were historically," said Marshall.

Scientists believe the birds are descendants of Canada geese that flew here nearly 1 million years ago.

The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu's North Shore was established in 1976 to provide habitat for endangered waterbirds.  It expanded in recent years to provide a home for seabirds, native plants and other species.

PHOTOS: Nene on Oahu's North Shore

Click here to see more photos of the nene on Oahu.


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