Nene deaths investigated

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    Four nene were killed by cars in 2017. Experts say it’s a reminder to drive slow in order to avoid colliding with the native Hawaiian goose.

HONOLULU — Kauai prosecutors are investigating allegations against a Hawaii homeowner suspected of killing at least four nene geese with a BB gun.

Officials are not identifying the suspect because charges have not been filed, they said.

The case was turned over to Kauai prosecutors after a 10-month investigation into the allegations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday.

“We take all of these allegations seriously. The importance of protecting our natural environment is something that is very important to the people of Hawaii,” said Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar.

Nene are birds native to Hawaii that are federally protected.

About 25,000 nene were present in the Hawaiian Islands when Captain Cook arrived in 1778. By the mid-1940s, only 50 birds remained.

Through captive breeding efforts and extensive predator control, the population is beginning to grow. Even with ongoing conservation efforts nene are still considered to be the rarest goose species in the world.

The species came close to extinction in the 1950s.

It is believed that there are 2,000 of the geese left in the wild.

They face threats from drivers.

More than 50 nene have been stuck and killed by cars along Kauai roadways since 2015, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

On Kauai, the worst locations for nene deaths are around the Hanalei Bridge, on Kilauea Road near the Kilauea Point NWR, and on the Westside of the island, according to DLNR.

Many times it’s during the morning and evening hours when fatal strikes occur.

As a driver, the best option is to let the nene take the lead on the road, according to experts.

Carroll Cox, an environmental activist and former fish and wildlife Service agent, does not think the homeowner will be able to claim that he was unaware of the bird’s status.

“The information we received initially is he was told to leave them alone, they are endangered,” said Cox.

The homeowner could be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. Those convicted can face penalties of up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

  1. larry January 4, 2018 5:49 am Reply

    don’t slap him on the hand
    send him to Levenworth

  2. Carrie lavigne January 4, 2018 6:04 am Reply

    What a joke Hawaii investigators are. 10 months to find out and prosecute a person for killing these geese. I had a home robbery while living in Kauai and it was like working with the keystone cops. Good old boys doing nothing. It was so apparent who the culprits were, but they did nothing. Same thing happened when I had a gunshot into my window. Nothing! Not surprising they have not done anything to prosecute anyone. Why bother having police or agencies that don’t hold people accountable

  3. Geckoman January 4, 2018 3:36 pm Reply

    Like Carrie said – 10 months?!!!!!!! Better hope you don;t have a crack head next door.

  4. manongindashadow January 4, 2018 4:03 pm Reply

    C. Lavigne. I know the feeling. Back in the late 70s in Ogden, Utah. The place I was renting got broke into. The robbers took some tithe money and broke my landladies antique light fixtures.
    To make a long story short, ” I asked the police if they were going to look for finger prints.” They replied,” no, you watch to many movies!”
    It’s like you said, “why have police?”

  5. Tom Niblick January 5, 2018 8:37 am Reply

    Can we deport the SOB?

  6. MJ January 8, 2018 7:29 am Reply

    The penalty is actually up to $50K per nene. This crime is unconscionable. The surviving partner nene has lost it’s one and only mate forever. Bring the hammer down on the slime, Prosecutor Kollar. $200,000 and hard jail time. Nothing less.

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