Nēnē Research & Conservation

Nēnē or the Hawaiian Goose, branta sandvicensis, is the rarest goose in the world. It is endemic to Hawaiʻi but due to captive breeding efforts can be found in a few other places, most notably WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, England. A few escapees are also occasionally seen throughout Europe. By the mid-1940s, the Hawaiian goose population was alarmingly low, with an estimated population of less than 50 individuals. However, the bird’s beauty and rarity led to its recognition as the official emblem of the Territory of Hawaiʻi in 1957 and later as the state bird in 1988

Large scale conservation efforts like captive breeding and habitat restoration have led to a recovery in the population, which is now estimated to be around 3,000. In 2019, the Trump administration down-listed the Hawaiian goose from endangered to threatened but many threats still exist. Predators like cats and mongoose, habitat loss, vehicle collisions, and lack of genetic diversity are all issues that need to be addressed to maintain the recovery of this population.

Recent Nēnē Sightings

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What are we doing to help

We utilize citizen science and social media to gather important sighting data on nēnē (Hawaiian goose) populations in Hawaiʻi. By working with State and Federal agencies, local community members and volunteers, we can provide near real-time data to inform and direct conservation efforts and further aid the rehabilitation of the nēnē population. Robust sighting histories can be used to better understand habitat use, seasonal migrations, identify high risk areas for vehicle collisions, and much more. Any photo (no matter how old) of a banded nēnē from Hawaiʻi is useful and can be contributed to the dataset. 

Got Photos?