The Animal Facts Editorial Team
May 25, 2023 9:20 pm
Woodland Park Zoo, Washington, The United States
Visitors to Woodland Park Zoo now have the opportunity to view the Hawaiian Goose, the rarest species of goose on Earth. Also known as the nene this is the first time these animals have lived at the zoo in its 123 year history.
An 11 year old male and a 5 year old female have taken up residence in the zoo’s Conservation Aviary walk-through. They have taken up residence alongside a range of other bird species such as the tawny frogmouth and nicobar pigeon.
“Visitors are going to be in awe of these rare birds. Our nene have quickly adapted to their new home at the zoo and continue to bond together. They’re curious and mellow, and they’ve already found a favorite rock to perch on and peer over at the animals in our Family Farm,” said Shawn Pedersen, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “We’re very excited to share our new pair with the community. We hope they’ll breed and we have nene goslings next spring.”
This pair of Hawaiian geese have come together through a recommendation of the Nene Species Survival Plan. This program aims to manage the 60 nene held in accredited zoos across North America to ensure the population is healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining.
In their native Hawai`i the Hawaiian goose dropped to a population of just 30 individuals during the 1950s as a result of predation by invasive species and hunting. Breeding and conservation efforts have helped to restore their numbers but they are still a rare species. A range of emerging threats continue to face the species such as vehicle strikes and feeding by humans.
This bird is the state bird of Hawai’i and they are protected across the islands. Each bird has an individual band to identify it.
The Hawaiian goose is found exclusively on the island of Hawaii. Unlike most species of geese they are non-migratory and they will only move across the island which they live on.
Image: © Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
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