‘Critically endangered’ bird has been on the brink of extinction since the 1970s
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 2:22pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 December, 2017, 2:24pm
Conservationists are celebrating the birth of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds at Mangawhai.
The number of one of the country’s rarest birds, the New Zealand fairy tern/tara-iti, has been boosted by a chick successfully hatching at Mangawhai, in late November.
With a total population of around just 40 birds, the NZ fairy tern is critically endangered, and has teetered on the brink of extinction since the 1970s.
Department of Conservation Mangawhai Fairy Tern Ranger Keven Drew hopes the new chick will help boost fairy tern numbers.
“Although it is early days for the chick and the risks are high, we are hopeful he or she will continue to do well and fledge later in summer,” Mr Drew said.
Fairy terns nest on shell and sand banks just above high tide, which makes them vulnerable to rats, stoats and other predators, disturbance by people, 4WD vehicles and dogs. They are also at risk from stormy weather and very high tides.
“The birds cannot be transported to predator-free offshore islands because they are very particular about where they nest, and the chicks are not raised in captivity as they have to be looked after by their parents while they learn how to fish successfully” he said.