Protecting the nene

KAPAA — The Wailua-Kapaa Neighborhood Association will feature guest speaker Dr. Christian Vlautin, project coordinator of the Kauai Nene Habitat Conservation Plan, on July 25.

The meeting will be at the Kapaa Library and the presentation is free and open to the public.

Vlautin wants to hear about the community’s interest in nene conservation in the area. He will answer questions about nene biology and their place in the ecosystem, and will talk about the developing Habitat Conservation Plan.

“We’re pleased to provide this opportunity for public outreach and education,” said Rayne Regush, W-KNA chairperson. “Nene are exposed to various threats when they nest and forage on golf courses and in residential and agricultural areas. However, nene can pose threats to the public as well, and issues related to crop damage and airplane safety will also be discussed.”

The project is in its early stages and coordinators are trying to get as many people involved in drafting and shaping its content as possible. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife is developing the plan, working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the county and with private landowners on Kauai.

“Once present in large numbers, Hawaii’s nene population had dwindled to less than 30 individuals by the middle of the 20th century due to development and predation pressures,” Vlautin said. “Thanks to dedicated recovery and reintroduction efforts, the nene have rebounded and are increasing on Kauai. Currently, our state bird is protected by federal and state laws to ensure its continued recovery and to shield it from harm.”

Info: http://www.wkna.org

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