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Predator traps saving endangered bird

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/06/2017

The Department of Conservation is happy with work being done to save the black-fronted tern.

Tern colonies in the upper Clarence and Acheron rivers in the South Island being monitored in a five-year project have just had their most productive breeding season in that period, the department says.

The birds in the protected colonies had 147 chicks in 152 nests, compared with an average 55 chicks from 348 nests elsewhere.

Black fronted tern, or tarapiroe, are considered endangered.

Mature black-fronted tern numbers are estimated to be between 5000 and 10,000. Without protection their numbers will continue to decline.

Most terns are seabirds but the black-fronted tern lives and breeds inland and the braided rivers of Canterbury are considered to be their global stronghold.

Department of Conservation manager Phil Bradfield said the most recent breeding season was the first in which a full predator trapping network was in place at three colonies along with habitat enhancements to river island breeding sites.

Tern breeding will continue to be monitored for another three years.

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