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Meet the Next Generation of Nēnē!

January 22, 2014

Warning: These photographs contain graphic depictions of gray, fluffy cuteness and may evoke uncontrollable, high-pitched squealing sounds. Viewer discretion is advised.

These adorable nēnē goslings and their parents were photographed last week by Kathleen Misajon, Nēnē Recovery Project Manager for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since the 1970s, the park has worked diligently to conserve these endangered and endemic darlings.

nēnē goslings

Goslings feeding in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

The most important thing we can do to support nēnē survival is never feed nēnē. Their natural diet includes native ‘ōhelo berries, grasses, and other plants. Feeding nēnē changes their natural behavior. It also draws them to humans in high-traffic areas, which often has deadly consequences. Nēnē are killed by vehicles every year; look for nēnē crossing signs in the park, and across the entire island.

Nēnē ‘ohana feeding together

A family of nēnē eats grass in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

A few goslings are beginning to grow feathers that will replace their downy fluff.  In a few weeks flight feathers will emerge, and by the end of March goslings will begin to fledge, or take their first flights. Park conservationists will band their legs and begin to track their movements.

cute gosling

A fluffy down-covered nēnē gosling. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon.

Nēnē pin feathers

A park biologist displays the pin feathers, crucial for flight, on a nēnē gosling in 2013. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

Approximately 2,400 nēnē thrive across the state of Hawai‘i, and nearly 250 live within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. By not feeding them and driving slowly in nēnē zones, we can ensure this new generation of nēnē is around for our next generation to enjoy!

Branta sandvicensis

Nēnē family in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Kathleen Misajon

Watch a :30 second public service announcement about what you can do to help nēnē survive:

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