By Harrison Christian
5:20 PM Monday Mar 9, 2015
A rare New Zealand bird has received a boost in Hawke's Bay, after a single rat is believed to have ravaged population numbers.
The dwindling population of the endangered New Zealand shore plover in northern Hawke's Bay saw a surge in numbers last Friday, with the release of 20 juvenile birds on to Waikawa - also known as Portland Island.
Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Helen Jonas said the privately-owned island located off the Mahia Peninsula used to be home to 80 shore plover but a "devastating season" in 2013 saw their numbers reduced to just 10 birds.
"All the evidence pointed to a single rat as the cause, and the rat is now believed to have since died."