Hawaii’s nene may be downlisted to threatened

A nene appears with goslings on the Big Island of Hawaii. ©Mike's Birds

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to reclassify the Hawaiian goose (Branta (=Nesochen) sandvicensis), also known as the nene, from endangered to threatened. This proposal is “based on a thorough review of the best available scientific data,” the Service announced, suggesting that the population levels of this species have improved so that it is “not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

The nene is found on the Hawaiian islands of Hawaii and Maui, where the population is estimated to be 2,800 individuals.

The Service proposed adopting a rule under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act along with the reclassification, allowing some restricted “take” of Hawaiian geese under one of three conditions:

  1. hazing or intentional harassment of nene that is not likely to cause direct injury or mortality, when conducted by landowners attempting to manage wildlife conflicts;
  2. incidental take of nene through activities designed either to help control the populations of introduced predators of nene, or to help manage nene habitat; or
  3. actions taken by law enforcement officers related to injured, sick, or dead nene.

For more information or to submit comments by the June 1 deadline, see the Federal Register announcement.

See The Wildlife Society’s Standing Position on Threatened and Endangered Species and Position Statement on the U.S. Endangered Species Act.