INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fund Urges New Zealanders To Help Southern NZ Dotterel Before It’s Too Late

Published: Thu 2 May 2024 08:08 AM
The NZ Nature Fund says New Zealanders need to rally behind the critically endangered Southern NZ Dotterel now, before it becomes extinct.
DOC has just released its annual flock count for the Southern NZ Dotterel, which shows a 19% decline in the estimated population to 101 birds. This follows a 13% decline in bird numbers the previous year.A Southern NZ Dotterel nesting site on the alpine tops of Rakiura (Stewart Island) (Photo supplied)
The Southern NZ Dotterel is a unique New Zealand native shore bird because it flies to alpine areas during its breeding season. The birds nest on the alpine tops of Rakiura (Stewart Island) from October until February when their chicks are old enough to return to the mudflats and estuaries of the Southland coast.
DOC believes a total of 41 adult Southern NZ Dotterel were killed during the 2023/24 breeding season and most would have died defending their nests or chicks from feral cats. That’s despite the DOC ranger team killing 32 feral cats across the bird’s breeding sites on Rakiura.
The New Zealand Nature Fund is raising funds from the public to support DOC’s Southern NZ Dotterel ranger team to protect the bird from predators. In the past six months New Zealanders have donated just over $82,000 through NZNF, but a total of $400,000 is required for more resources for predator control, satellite tracking and monitoring the bird population.
Former Conservation Minister and founding trustee of the New Zealand Nature Fund, Denis Marshall says kiwis have shown how passionate they are about the predator free movement, but some species like the Southern NZ Dotterel are on the brink of extinction and cannot wait any longer.
“We can be rightly proud of our community’s, indeed our country’s, efforts to plant more native trees, trap predators, address climate change and achieve carbon zero.
“However, I am deeply concerned about the widely held misconception that somehow through these efforts all nature will be restored, and our natural species will thrive. What is the point of restoring nature if our most critically endangered species are extinct?,” says Marshall.
NZ Nature Fund CEO Sarah Lyttle says donations to NZNF are provided directly to DOC to increase their resources to respond to the predators and monitor the birds.
“Our funds are being used on very practical but critical resources such as overnight bivvies, contracting teams to cut more tracks through dense forest and satellite technology to track the birds.”
She says New Zealanders have shown time and time again that they will step up when our native species are on the brink of extinction.
“I’m urging kiwis to dig deep again and donate to our Southern NZ Dotterel campaign. Every dollar counts,” says Lyttle.

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