Nene and hibiscus, Hawaiian state symbols. The Nene,
Branta sandvicensis, is thought to have evolved from the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) within the last 500,000 years. The Canada Goose founder population also gave rise to a larger kind of Nene, and possibly the Giant Hawaiin Goose, both of which are now extinct.
The Nene is found wild only on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. These birds evolved from the Canada goose, which probably arrived on Hawaii not long after the islands formed. Nenes are herbivores, grazing on grasses and other plants. They are classified as Vulnerable, but conservation efforts have increased their numbers. In 1952 the population was down to 30 geese, this has grown to 800 in the wild in 2004, with another 1,000 in captivity. They are the state bird of Hawaii.