New Zealand / Environment

Freedom campers to be educated on dotterel protection

09:09 am on 11 January 2019

Kaikōura District Council will take their freedom camping plans back to the drawing board after they were criticised for opening a site close to a vulnerable bird colony.

A banded dotterel chick is up and running just a few hours after it hatches. Photo: Ailsa McGilvary-Howard

Concerns have been raised about a newly-opened camping spot near a colony of banded dotterels in South Bay.

The freedom camping site known as Pohowera opened last year to ease pressure off other camping spots in the town.

Kaikōura District Council district plan manager Matt Hoggart said they were working to educate visitors about the birds and how to avoid disturbing their nesting grounds.

"We want people to understand the plight of the dotterels and we want people to also enjoy our district and actually have somewhere to stay," Mr Hoggart said.

Phil Bradfield from the Department of Conservation said it had been advising the Council on how best to protect the banded dotterels at the site.

"We have been working with Kaikōura District Council to advise on measures to protect the banded dotterels at that site, including limiting camping spaces and signage and other information to make campers aware of the banded dotterels and appropriate behaviour to avoid impacting on the birds," Mr Bradfield said.

Banded dotterels, also known as plovers, are listed as nationally vulnerable and are in decline. The ground-nesting birds' eggs are at risk from mammals, but efforts are being made to protect them.