State and wildlife officials are urging Kauai residents to be careful of their loose pets.
They say March is the middle of nene breeding season, and for the past month, they’ve received several reports of loose dogs and cats hunting the native, endangered species.
On Feb. 10, four goslings were found dead along the side of Kilauea Road in Kilauea. Given the nature of their injuries, the deaths are believed to be the result of dog attacks.
Since then, three more goslings have been found dead and one more was seriously injured along Kilauea and Kauapea roads. The injured gosling appeared to have been attacked by a dog and succumbed to its injuries shortly after being picked up by the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife staff.
“Nesting adults and goslings are especially vulnerable this time of year,” said DOFAW biologist Jean Olbert. “We are asking that the community keep their pets indoors, on leash, or in a fenced yard to prevent further attacks from taking place.”
Nene goslings are flightless for their first 2-3 months of life and breeding adults are often reluctant to leave their nest or young behind when faced with predators, leaving them vulnerable to attack.
Additionally, all adult nene drop their flight feathers once a year. This process, known as molting, leaves the adults flightless for several weeks while they grow in fresh feathers, creating a situation where they are unable to fly away in order to escape a threat.
“We are asking the local community and visitors to the island to be extra vigilant from January to mid-May, while the nene are tending to their flightless goslings, as well as molting,” said Heather Tonneson, the new refuge manager at Kilauea.
Residents are encouraged to keep their pets indoors, on leash, in a kennel or in a fenced yard.
Do not feed nene as it is harmful and will encourage them to beg near people, and be attracted to roadways and other hazards.
Observe speed limits and slow down for nene and their families.
To report a loose dog, call the Kauai Humane Society at (808) 632-0610.
To report an injured or dead bird, call the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife Kauai office at (808) 274-3433.