Martin Mere Wetland Centre celebrates success for Hawaiian geese in the wild

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WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is celebrating a success in the wild for one of its rarest species, the Hawaiian goose, known as a nene (pronounced nay-nay).

It was driven to near extinction in the early 1950s when only 30 individuals were left in the world, all on Hawaii Island. Martin Mere Wetland Centre founder Sir Peter Scott brought a pair to the UK and bred them till there was a large enough flock to return birds to the island of Maui, where they had previously lived.

There are now about 2,500 on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai islands, and last week for the first time a pair were spotted on another island, Oahu. The pair made their own way to the island, and it’s the first time they’ve been seen there since the 1700s.

The nene is still the world’s rarest goose, and WWT continues to breed them today. You can meet and feed one of these very special geese every day at Martin Mere Wetland Centre. You’ll be amazed how friendly they are – a character trait that contributed to their near-demise – they had no natural predators on the isolated Hawaiian islands, so didn’t see Polynesian settlers that hunted them and the domestic animals brought over by them to the islands as a threat.

Hawaiian geese have one of the longest breeding seasons of any goose and eggs are laid during British wintertime. Right now there are three of fluffy goslings at Martin Mere Wetland Centre.

Martin Mere Wetland Centre’s Acting Grounds Manager, Steve Dilworth said:
“Hawaiian geese have a special place at Martin Mere Wetland Centre. They’re so friendly and very, very gentle which is great for small children.

“They also have a special place in WWT’s conservation history. Without our breeding expertise they would be extinct. This week’s news that the reintroduced birds have begun the slow process of colonising another island is a fantastic and hopeful step forward for the species.”

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is a haven for a host of creatures such as otters, flamingos, beavers, kingfishers, geese and swans. Watch birds from the shelter of our comfortable hides, enjoy an expert walk or talk, or simply watch the world go by in our cafe overlooking our waterfowl collection – there’s plenty to do at a Wetland Centre all year round.

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9.30am to 6.00pm during summer months and from 9.30am to 4.30pm during winter months and parking is free of charge. Situated off the A59, it is signposted from the M61, M58 and M6. The Centre is also accessible via the Southport to Manchester and the Liverpool to Preston line by train from Burscough Rail Stations. Visit the web site to find out what’s on all year round at Martin Mere and the other eight WWT Wetland Centres.



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