Maui News

Nēnē Struck and Killed on New Year’s Eve, Motorists Reminded to Drive with Caution at Haleakalā

January 8, 2021, 10:54 AM HST
* Updated January 8, 10:56 AM
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A male nēnē stands guard as the female incubates eggs. Male nēnē are mobile and can be on roads while females incubate eggs. File photo courtesy Haleakalā National Park.

Haleakalā National Park on Maui is reminding the public to drive carefully during the current nesting season for the nēnē (Hawaiian goose, Branta sandvicensis).

The reminder comes as park biologists report that an adult nēnē from a known breeding pair was hit and killed on the park road during this past New Year’s Eve. Wind, rain, and poor visibility likely contributed to the event, according to the NPS.

The park reports that winter creates additional driving hazards on the park’s narrow, winding roads, along with increased wildlife activity near roadways.  

The park is asking for the public’s help to prevent future nēnē fatalities and offered the following recommendations:   

  • Follow speed limits and drive cautiously, especially near the summit park entrance and Headquarters Visitor Center.  
  • Watch out for nēnē and other wildlife, and safely stop your vehicle when wildlife is spotted on or near roadways.  
  • Turn your hazard lights on to safely warn other cars to stop.  
  • Allow nēnē to move off the road before continuing to drive.   
  • Inspect the area around your vehicle for birds after parking in the park. 

The nēnē is Hawaiʻi’s state bird. The species is protected by federal and state laws. Although recently downlisted by the federal government to threatened status, nēnē are still listed as an endangered species by the state of Hawaiʻi.

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There are approximately 3,500 nēnē statewide; fewer than 500 are found on the island of Maui. Haleakalā National Park is home to approximately 280 nēnē. 

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