Nēnē Research & Conservation

Nēnē are facing a serious threat from cars. As these birds explore new areas for food during nesting season, they may unknowingly wander onto busy roads, making them susceptible to accidents. Unfortunately, nēnē deaths from vehicles are not uncommon, with multiple cases reported recently in national parks and highways across Hawai‘i. These accidents can be especially devastating for nēnē families, as a nēnē may lose its mate, resulting in total failure for the nene family. Conservation efforts have helped nēnē narrowly avoid extinction over the past decade, but it is important for motorists to remain vigilant and slow down when driving near areas where nēnē are known to populate. Additionally, feeding nēnē is illegal and can cause them to lose their natural fear of people, putting them in potentially dangerous situations.

What are we doing to help?

Our team recently submitted a freedom of information act request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife in an effort to obtain a comprehensive record of all reported incidents involving nēnē injuries and fatalities in Hawaiʻi. Despite frequent news coverage and press releases from various state and federal agencies highlighting the dangers of nēnē being struck by cars, we were surprised to discover that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife database only documents a total of 8 instances of nēnē injuries or mortalities.

We also submitted a letter to Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth to collaborate on solutions to reduce the amount of collisions occurring in Keaukaha on Hawaiʻi island.