Nene: here’s the scoop


The development of agricultural systems by the Polynesians, and later by European settlers, resulted in the extensive loss and alteration of habitat. A lack of suitable habitat, especially for rearing young, is the most important limiting factor, combined with predation by the introduced small Indian mongoose, dogs, cats, pigs and rats. Other threats include disease, inbreeding, and vehicle collisions.

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Nene geese. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

AZA institutions, including Buttonwood Park Zoo, work closely with this vocal, charismatic species through the Species Survival Plan to not only raise awareness, but enhance the conservation of this species in the wild. With the help of reintroduction programs, their numbers are slowly increasing with a total of 2,500 birds, up from 1,200 in 2004.



Scientific name

Branta sandvicensis


Rocky, sparsely vegetated, and high volcanic slopes were once their natural habitat. Following habitat loss and alteration for agriculture, the optimal habitat is now grassland and shrubland, where there is an abundance of high protein food, adjacent to natural nesting areas.


Leaves, seeds, fruit, and flowers of grasses and shrubs


20 – 24 years

Did you know?

Nene, also known as Hawaiian geese, are non-migratory unlike most other geese species.


Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands

Conservation status


Facing a high risk of extinction in the wild