The nene (Hawaiian goose) is the state bird, and it's a creature with a dramatic past. Although they originally bred primarily in the lowlands, once man and his associated predators arrived, the nene was forced to move to higher elevations for safety.
Still, by the 1950's, as they barely survived on some of the Hawaiian Islands, and their numbers dropped to an estimated 30, they were locally extinct on Maui. The loss of the entire species was averted by a captive breeding program, begun in England.
In 1962, 35 birds were carried into the Paliku area by local Boy Scouts, and the nene population subsequently began to grow. For the time being, while these magnificent birds seem to have averted their immediate threat, we must remain cognizant of the always-delicate balance between man and nature.
Still considered the world's rarest goose, the nene can sometimes be seen in its native habitat in Haleakala National Park on Maui.
Here, a few of the birds are captured in mid-flight by the brush of artist Richard Fields. Also shown is the rare and fascinating silversword plant.
Lahaina Printsellers custom-prints this image on waterproof canvas in our Lahaina studio using only the finest archival inks, which are tested and guaranteed not to fade or shift under normal circumstances for over 100 years.