Endangered Nene Hawaiian goose, Mauna Loa volcano

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by sabbath999, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've seen this wild born endangered Nene since she was just a fledgeling. She has recently mated up and hopefully soon will have her own chicks. She's one of the few you will see untagged in the wild, they are critically endangered.

    Taken on a rainy day at the edge of the Kau desert on the slopes of Mauna Loa.

    [​IMG]

    EXIF: D40, 55-200 VR, 1/80, f/7.1, ISO 400
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good luck to her! and I hope you get a chance to continue watching her as she goes through life.
     
  3. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    I've only seen these in wildfowl reserves before, where they appear almost scarily tame - no wonder they ended up being endangered, as they seem to have no inherent fear of the human race.
     
  4. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They had no predators whatever when as they evolved on Hawai'i. They all have the same mitochondrial DNA and the same male chromosome which means they are actually descended from a single breeding pair of very lost Canadian geese.

    The reason they are endangered now has more to do with the introduction of the mongoose to Hawai'i than anything else... the weasels eat Nene eggs. Where the remaining Nene exist are stretches of land too barren for just about anything else to survive (including the mongoose)...

    She has mated, and I have other shots of her and her "fella" which I will share in the future.

    You are correct, they have absolutely no fear of humans (or, unfortunately, cars).
     
  5. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    nice

    at least they have now been classified as 'vulnerable' and removed from 'critically endangered' on the IUCN red list
     
  6. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I hadn't heard, good... I know when I looked last they were still critically endangered, and the signs at the zoos in Honolulu and Hilo still list them that way. The sign at Hilo I saw a couple weeks ago, Honolulu last year. The signs at Volcano National Park says endangered as well, but they are about 10 years old.

    All of the Nene out there are birds that were released from a captive breeding stock which was collected about 60 years ago at Volcano National Park by a naturalist that wanted to save them. At that point in time, that one flock were the only Nene in the world. The reason they have been able to come back is the fact that they are completely immune to the effects of inbreeding (since the entire species is inherently inbred).

    Nene are used as an example in biology class because they are rather unique this way.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When I was in Hawaii, we rented a car and did a quick trip around the volcano park area (whatever it's called). There were many, many signs warning us to be watchful for the Nene. After we saw maybe 100 signs and not one nene, we thought it might be a mythical creature...but then we did see one or two of them. It must have been quite the site...a small group of 20 something year old dudes, hooting and cheering about seeing a nene :D
     
  8. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When you see those signs, Mike, they are not just there for their looks.

    Nene are very territorial in their daylight feeding grounds and breeding grounds. This girl pictured here hasn't moved (by day) more than 1km from her spot. In fact, I can tell you exactly where to find her at exactly what time of day. I have seen her & her mate about 100 feet away from her parents. She is 2 years old, and the only surviver or a brood of 4 chicks... I think one of the saddest things I have ever seen was watching her brood diminish... on day there would be four chicks, the next day only three... very sad.

    Since I don't live on the islands most of the year, things change when I am gone... she does, however, have a couple of distinct features so I know it is her (she is missing the claw on one of her toes, and has a scar on one of her legs... I am guessing she survived a mongoose attack when she was a chick.

    One of the biggest problems man creates is that ignorant tourists feed the Nene, who already have no fear of man (or cars). Most adult Nene deaths are from roadkill, since they don't have the "fly away from danger" reflex that most birds do... no need for it with no natural predators.

    I know where 5 different families live, and she is about the only unbanded one in the bunch. The researchers also know where they live, and they capture the juvenile Nene right before they can fly and band them.

    Although you will likely NEVER see one in flight, they actually fly very well (being geese, this isn't surprising)... but they generally only fly and flock up at night, moving up onto the higher slopes of to feed on berries.

    If you are going back there, I can give you exact locations to go to so that you can see them if you like.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I remember that we were told to be very careful while driving in areas with signs...and we were...which is partly why we became a little skeptical about them.

    I can't imagine that I'll be going back any time soon, but if I do...I'll be sure to ask you for some tips.
     
  10. bradsperry

    bradsperry TPF Noob!

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    lol ....... you couldn't crop this any closer? .... just curious ..... focal point is a little large IMO
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :roll:
     

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