Maui News

NENE KILLED: DRIVERS ASKED TO BE CAREFUL

January 5, 2009, 2:30 PM HST
* Updated January 8, 12:05 PM
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An adult nÄ“nÄ“ was killed on the road at Haleakalā National Park on Sunday (December 28, 2008).  Motorists traveling to the park are asked to please drive slowly and cautiously.  In addition to permanent signs along the park’s road to inform motorists of nÄ“nÄ“ crossing the road, park biologists placed special signs along areas where nÄ“nÄ“ have been seen in the past couple of weeks.

Visitors reported the dead nēnē to Visitor Use Assistant Tony Manion at approximately 7:30 a.m.  Park Ranger Chad Riggin retrieved the dead nēnē from the road, near mile marker 16.  The nēnē was found in the down-bound lane, around a corner.  The death occurred sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 7:15 a.m.  Poor visibility due to weather conditions is not considered to be a factor.

The Hawaiian Goose or nÄ“nÄ“ is the state bird-it is an endangered species on both state and federal listings.  The adult nÄ“nÄ“ killed was part of a breeding pair.  There are approximately 250 nÄ“nÄ“ at the park but only half of the birds are known to breed each year.  October through March is peak nÄ“nÄ“ nesting season at Haleakalā.  Several nÄ“nÄ“ have been and still are seen daily on the park road.  NÄ“nÄ“ are along the road to “get to the other side” and nest in the shrubbery.

Unlike other birds, nÄ“nÄ“ do not flee when approached by cars.  Irresponsible visitors feed the nÄ“nÄ“ from their cars.  NÄ“nÄ“ associate feeding with cars and have learned to approach rather than flee from cars.  The National Park Service reminds people not to feed nÄ“nÄ“; signs are posted throughout the park.  Motorists traveling to the Park are asked to be aware of nÄ“nÄ“ on the road, especially during bad weather when road visibility is compromised.  Motorists are advised to use caution and to follow posted speed limits when driving the long, winding road to the Haleakalā summit.  Roadways where they frequent include the area just inside the park’s entrance, the road to Hosmer Grove, roadways near the park’s headquarters, Halemau’u Trailhead parking lot, and below Lele’iwi Overlook.

(Posted:  Tuesday, December 30, 2008)

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