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.
The species came close to extinction in the 1950s.
It is believed that there are 2,000 of the geese left in the wild.
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.