WAILUKU – The Department of Parks and Recreation has closed down its Ukumehame rifle range because of a Nene nest in the area. The move is a prudent one to safeguard the endangered creature that is Hawaii’s state bird.
The Nene – which is state and federally listed as an endangered species – was spotted wandering around the rifle range on Sunday this week, by a firearms instructor, who then notified the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.
On Monday a DLNR wildlife biologist confirmed that not only was there a Nene on property, but that there was also a nest located on the right hand side of the rifle range, up against the berm. Upon DLNR’s recommendation the county has closed the rifle range while the Nene continues to incubate the eggs.
Nene have been in the news – in the saddest way – recently. A nesting female was killed at the Haleakala Summit December 26.
In the meantime, the pistol range, clay target range and the classrooms will remain open. DLNR officials say it will be about a month and a half before the eggs hatch and the Nene family mobile enough to be relocated (or leave on their own.) Once that happens the rifle range can be reopened.
The county thanks the public for their patience and understanding and DLNR for their assistance.