A part-time Kauai resident must pay more than $40,000 in fines for fatally shooting four nene geese with a pellet gun near his home in Koloa last year.
Steven Cookson, 72, was convicted Tuesday of five misdemeanor state charges of taking an endangered or threatened species, according to Kauai County prosecuting attorney Justin F. Kollar. Cookson entered no-contest pleas to each charge.
On Feb. 8, 2017, Cookson used a pellet gun to kill four nene, and attempted to kill another one the next day in the Kukuiula subdivision where he lives, according to an investigation by state Department of Land and Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.
For counts one through four, Cookson was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine plus $155 in fees per count. For count 5, Cookson was ordered to pay $155 in fees. His total fines came out to $40,775.
Cookson’s attorney, Michael Green, said Thursday that his client just wanted to scare the birds, which were defecating in his pool, yard and walkway. Green said Cookson “didn’t know a duck from a nene.”
Green said his client “humbly apologizes” to the people of Hawaii and would never hurt an endangered animal.