POSTED: 5:46 p.m. HST, Nov 20, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 8:58 p.m. HST, Nov 20, 2013
Two adult female nene were killed recently by speeding motorists in Maui's Haleakala National Park, according to a news release issued by the park.
One of the birds was found dead Friday on the down-bound lane of Crater Road, near the Hosmer Grove intersection. The other was discovered Nov. 12 outside the park, near mile marker 9.
In the release, Park Superintendent Natalie Gates, said: "This is a truly worrisome start to the nene breeding season." She continued, "We didn't just lose two birds; we lost several potential generations of an endangered species. Driving slowly along the entire length of Crater Road is the only truly controllable thing humans can do, on a daily basis, to help this species."
Crater Road bisects the nene breeding habitat, said park wildlife biologist Cathleen Bailey.
The park's chief of interpretation, Polly Angelakis, said, "Many motorists are not used to the steepness of the road and how fast a car can suddenly pick up speed." She added, "Visitors should use low gear when driving downhill to hold back their vehicles and save wear and tear on their brakes. Using low gear will make their own journey safer and help save this bird and other wildlife."
The nene, also known as the Hawaiian Goose, is endangered due to habitat loss and non-native predators, such as cats and mongoose, that eat eggs and prey on birds. There are less than 300 nene left in the park.