Kilauea Lighthouse National wildlife Refuge, Kauai
The Hawaiian goose, known as a nene, is endangered, with less than 2000 believed to be in the wild. Though you'll see nene crossing signs on several roads, I never saw one until I visited Kilauea Lighthouse national wildlife refuge on Kaua'i.
The nene is the descendent of Canadian geese that ran off course and ended in the Hawaiian islands 5,000 years ago. Since hockey hadn't been invented yet, they saw no reason to return to Canada and stayed, evolving separately from the remaining geese populations since then. Lacking land predators until recently, the nene rarely fly and, therefore, spend most of their time ground-bound. This has caused them to evolve stronger, more walking-friendly feet and smaller chests than their Canadian relatives.
Once the mongoose and feral cat were introduced to the Hawaiian islands, the nene population crashed. At one point, only 50 were known to exist. Captive breeding programs have restocked nene populations on Hawai'i, Molokai and Kaua'i, but only the Kaua'i population is growing naturally, thanks to the absence of mongooses on the Garden Isle.
The islands have many birds and plants and nature that is so different than the mainlands.
I love this colorful bird.