Woman cited after taking nēnē gosling from state park in Hilo on Big Island
A Hilo woman was cited Thursday morning, March 23, after removing an endangered nēnē gosling from Wailoa River State Recreation Area in Hilo on the Big Island.
According to the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, 57-year-old Meiqin Chen was cited by the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement for:
- Taking, injuring or destroying wild birds prohibited.
- With respect to endangered and threatened species of wildlife; take, possess, process, sell, offer for sale or transport any such species, any young or egg or the dead body or skin thereof within the state.
- No person shall trap, take, catch, possess any wild bird or mammal or disturb their habitat.
Multiple witnesses reported Chen to staff at the Land Department’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the Hawai‘i Police Department, stating she put the gosling in her vehicle and drove away. Witnesses were able to provide a vehicle description and license plate number to law enforcement. Officers with the Police Department located the vehicle in Kea‘au, about 10 miles from the Wailoa recreation area.
During a traffic stop, an officer saw the gosling in an onion bag in a bucket in the rear of the vehicle. Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers arrived at the scene with a Division of Forestry and Wildlife biologist, confirming the bird was a nēnē gosling.
Chen has an initial court date set for May 19 in Hilo District Court.
Anyone who witnesses wildlife harassment is encouraged to call the 24-hour Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement hotline at 808-643-DLNR (3567) or report suspected violations via the free DLNRTip app.