On the endangered species list, the Nene is the State Bird of Hawaii.
Physical Description: Scientists believe these birds were once nearly identical to the Canada goose, but after thousands of years of evolution, they are now quite different. They seldom swim and were not bothered by predators or cold temperatures, so they did not fly as much. Today the Nene has feet that are only half as webbed as other geese, with longer toes for climbing on the rocky lava flows. Their wings are weak, compared to other geese.
Feeding: Because there is little fresh water in their environment, the Nene relies on the moisture from fog and dew, and that contained in the plants it eats.
Status and Conservation: In 1778 when Captain Cooke arrived in the Hawaiian islands, there were probably 25,000 Nene. By the 1950's there were only 30 geese left. Like many island animals, the Nene could not stand up to the introduced animals that colonists brought with them and the changes they made to the environment for agriculture. Today there are about 500 wild Nene and successful captive breeding programs in the United States and Europe with fledglings introduced every year.
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