Otago Daily Times
Gull death inquiry progress
CHRISTCHURCH: The Department of Conservation says it is making good progress investigating a report of vehicles driving through a blackbilled gull nesting colony in North Canterbury.
Nest cameras on the Ashley River bed captured fourwheeldrive vehicles and motorbikes driving through the colony last week. Environment Canterbury has reported 10 birds were killed.
The native birds are protected and classed as a critically endangered species.
Doc North Canterbury operations manager Kingsley Timpson said rangers were making good progress in finding those responsible.
‘‘We are progressing quite satisfactorily in terms of trying to reach a solution with locating these people, and having a conversation with them to determine exactly what went on,’’ Mr Timpson said.
Disturbing blackbilled gulls could result in a $100,000 fine and/or two years’ jail.
It was the middle of nesting season at present for the birds, which were the most threatened gull species in the world, Mr Timpson said.
‘‘The species rely on this habitat to survive and I think it is an area that is probably not as valued by some people in the community, and I think there are some behaviours that have got to change to give these birds a fair go,’’ he said.
The area is regularly monitored by the AshleyRakahuri Rivercare Group and Environment Canterbury.
The rivercare group said this year the blackbilled gull colony on the Ashley River was the second biggest in 20 years, 1278 nests producing the same number of fledglings. — RNZ