Nene Awareness, Public Lands Day celebration in Kilauea

The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will honor National Public lands Day and celebrate Nene Awareness Day, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by waiving the entrance fees at the Kilauea facility.

Nene Awareness day was declared by Governor Linda Lingle in 2003 for the purpose of educating residents and visitors alike about Hawai‘i’s state bird, states a release from the KPNWF.

“The nene is an icon of Hawai‘i’s past, holding its own on fragments of its original habitat,” said Shannon Smith, Refuge Manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “We are aworking with a cadre of committed partners to restore habitat and give this species a real chance to make a comeback.”

The nene was designated the Hawai‘i state bird on May 7, 1957, and has endured a long struggle against extinction.

Conservationists started breeding the birds in captivity in hopes of preserving a remnant of the declining population with the hope of someday re-establishing them in their native habitat, the release states.

Biologists from the Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex and the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife work together on Kaua‘i to preserve the rare and unique Hawai‘i state bird.

In 2010, there were approximately 1,925 to 1,950 nene statewide, with Kaua‘i supporting almost half of that population, reproducing successfully on Kaua‘i due to abundant lush pastures, available lowland habitat and the absence of mongoose populations.

During National Public Lands Day, the 655 million acres of forests, parks, refuges and open spaces will be celebrated. People from across the Mainland, as well as Alaska and Hawai‘i. will be getting out to hike in the forests, fish in the streams and enjoy the wild places we all share.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Visit www.fws.gov for more information.

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