The Nene or Hawaiian Goose, (Branta sandvicensis), is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. At the time of Captain James Cook's arrival in 1778, it was estimated that there were about 2,500 birds in Hawaii. By the mid 1940's, the Nene population on the island of Hawaii was drastically reduced to only 50 individual birds. This reduction in the population was largely due to over hunting, the introduction of predators, such as the mongoose, cats, and dogs, loss of habitat due to agricultural activities, and disturbance by foraging animals, such as the feral pig, sheep, cattle, and goats.
Today, the Nene is a federally listed endangered species, with about 400 individuals on the island of Hawaii, 125 birds on the island of Maui, and a small population on the island of Kauai. Photo: Warren Costa