(BIVN) – A Hilo woman was cited on Thursday for allegedly removing a nēnē gosling from Wailoa River State Recreation Area.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources reports that DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers found 57-year-old Meiqin Chen in possession of the young nēnē in Keaʻau, after witnesses saw her taking the birds from the public park.
From the Hawaiʻi DLNR:
Multiple witnesses reported Chen to staff at the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Hawai’i Police Department (HPD) stating that 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. HPD located the vehicle in Keaʻau, approximately 10 miles from Wailoa River State Recreation Area.
During a traffic stop, an HPD officer saw the gosling in an onion bag in a bucket in the rear of the vehicle. DOCARE arrived on scene with a DOFAW biologist, confirming it was a nēnē gosling.
The DLNR says Chen was cited for:
- §183D-62 – Taking, injuring, or destroying wild birds prohibited.
- §13-124-11 (a)1 – 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.
- § 13-146-41 No person shall trap, take, catch, possess, any wild bird or mammal, or disturb their habitat.
Chen has an initial court date on May 19, 2023 in Hilo District Court.
DLNR thanked the Hawaiʻi County Police Department for its assistance, and noted that anyone who witnesses wildlife harassment is encouraged to call the 24-hour DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR (3567) or report suspected violations via the free DLNRTip app.