The nene, or Hawaiian goose, has recently fallen victim to careless drivers on the roads near Haleakala.
Drivers are asked to slow down after nene killed on Haleakala
WAILUKU » Visitors are being warned to slow down when driving through Haleakala National Park on Maui, following the traffic death of an adult nene goose.
The nene, designated as the Hawaii state bird, is an endangered species.
"You have to be cautious when in the park," said Park Superintendent Marilyn Parris. "There's going to be wildlife and you need to be careful."
Thousands of dollars are spent each year in propagating nene geese in captive breeding programs on Maui and releasing them into the wild.
Several visitors reported seeing the dead goose at about 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Park officials said visibility was not considered to be a factor, since the weather was clear and sunny.
Officials are reminding visitors that nesting season reaches its peak from October through March, and nene birds -- or Branta sandvicensis -- sometimes do not flee when crossing the road and seeing an approaching vehicle.
Officials said because visitors feed the nene, in violation of park rules, the nene sometimes associates vehicles with food and are attracted to them.
Roadways they frequent include the area just inside the park's entrance, the road to Hosmer Grove, roadways near the park's headquarters and the Halemau'u trail head parking lot, the park said.
An adult female nene bird that had produced 20 offspring and was expected to produce another 20 was killed by a vehicle in the park in 2002.
Parris said the bird killed Tuesday was to be examined, in part to determine its sex.