HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii state bird is ready to be downgraded from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, federal wildlife officials said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the proposal Friday, saying the nene, a species of goose found in Hawaii, is recovering after nearing extinction decades ago.
Nearly 60 years ago, the nene population numbered about 30. Its population has since grown to more than 2,800, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the nene is well on its way to recovery,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, the center’s endangered species recovery director. “This landmark law helped bring our state bird back from the very edge of extinction. It’s a real testament to the act’s effectiveness.”
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The nene was listed as an endangered species in 1967.
The nene is recovering through a captive breeding program, habitat restoration and active management strategies, officials said.
“It took decades of hard work and remarkable partnerships to bring nene back from the brink of extinction,” said Robyn Thorson, the wildlife service’s Pacific Region director. “Collaborative conservation efforts like this are the key to success in protecting and recovering Hawaii’s native species.”
The species still faces threats from predators, habitat destruction and collisions with cars, officials said.
The nene’s population is scattered across Hawaii with most located on the Big Island and Kauai.