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Warning signs ignored by visitors



Our native endangered birds need to be protected, or do some people really not care?

Just a few weeks ago couple of women with two children and an unleashed dog drove onto the Mangawhai mudflats on the seaward dune side, where no vehicles are supposed to go.

They continued past a sign which very clearly stated ‘Shorebird Protection Area, No Dogs’, their vehicle wheels going along the nesting and feeding areas of critically endangered dotterels, fairy terns and oystercatchers.

The single minded enjoyment seekers then proceeded to climb the dunes with the dog running free.

Concerned locals on the other side of the Mangawhai channel spotted the offenders and phoned around, locating fairy tern trapper Reg Whale and Tern Point manager Brian Clark who intercepted the couple and explained the precarious nature of their visit to the birds.

In explanation they said they were from Waiheke and simply failed to see any signs even though they had already passed some heading into Tern Point and at the boat ramp, and parking within 20 metres of another DoC sign indicating the wildlife refuge.

As Tern Point is a gated community it is possible they tailgated another vehicle to gain access.

“We have enough problems protecting the birds from feral cats without having to deal with people who, for some reason, just take no notice of signage and think the dunes are simply a place to play,” said Brian Clark. “We now need to consider how else we can highlight the fact this is a wildlife refuge and offer more protection without putting more restrictions on the residents of Tern Point.”

Is there any hope for our endangered birds if humans continue to trespass onto their nesting and feeding areas or is it time to set aside coastal reserves where no-one can go so the birds can recover?

Photos and identification were taken following the incident, handed to local police and sent officially to DoC for further action if considered necessary.

SPOTTED: Fairy Tern Chritable Trust members talk to careless holiday-makers who claimed to not see signage indicating the endangered bird refuge.

Fairy tern refuge violated (1)-509
Fairy tern 2-394
Fairy tern 3-308
Fairy tern 4-876
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