CCTV captures ‘abhorrent’ incident

WARNING: Some may find the video in this story distressing. 

About 30 protected red-billed gulls were killed as two cars and a quad bike hooned around the Royal Albatross Centre car park for about three hours early on Saturday, Otago Peninsula Trust ecotourism manager Hoani Langsbury says.

The incident, which lasted from about 1am to 4.30am, was captured on CCTV and had been reported to the police, Mr Langsbury said.

Distressed staff at the centre arrived on Saturday to find dead birds, empty beer bottles and extensive tyre marks throughout the parking lot.

Security footage was reviewed and the mess was cleaned up before visitors arrived at 10am.

At this stage in the gulls’ breeding season, up to 1000 chicks congregated in the car park in the evenings, and it was only a matter of luck that more birds were not killed, Mr Langsbury said.

The gull colony at Taiaroa Head had grown significantly over the past 10 years — increasing by 1000 pairs — and was the only red-billed gull colony in New Zealand that was not declining.

A red-billed gull at Taiaroa Head. PHOTO: CLARE FRASER
A red-billed gull at Taiaroa Head. PHOTO: CLARE FRASER
Whether the drivers were intentionally targeting the protected species or not, the entire headland was a seabird colony, he said.

Years of conservation work supported not only Dunedin’s northern royal albatross and the red-billed gulls but more than 20 species of seabirds, he said.

Department of Conservation ranger Colin Facer called driving over and killing adult birds and chicks an ‘‘abhorrent’’ act.

Red-billed gulls were more threatened than the northern royal albatrosses that bred on the peninsula, he said.

The chicks of killed adults would not be fed, leading to further deaths, Mr Facer said.

The species also acted as sentinels for other species in the area such as the royal spoonbill.

In the past, other species on the peninsula including penguins had been intentionally targeted by drivers.

Those responsible could be prosecuted under the Wildlife Act, he said.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Quote: "Those responsible could be prosecuted under the Wildlife Act, he said."
'Could' be prosecuted?
Thugs like these have killed penguins, harrassed seals and sea lions, and now we witness the murder of more wildlife just for thrills. In the dead of night, acting like the sneaky cowards they are.
Don't hold back, throw the book at them, and give them a fine to occupy a good portion of their incomes for the next 3 years and/or community and wildlife work for two days a week for the next 5 years. Confiscate the vehicles, just like what happens to boats and gear for breaking the fishing and shellfish gathering rules. Just so sick of this mindless killing and the lack of accountability. Time to send a very clear signal and a firm deterrent... NZ wildlife is not there to be harassed and killed for fun.
CCTV is great for identifying criminals, but it is hardly a deterrent. Someone commented about closing the place off at the concrete blocks in the evenings. Sadly, I believe that has now become very necessary.

All this social irresponsibility started in 1972 when Norman Kirk abolished - - -
(have a guess folks)

I say bring what was abolished back and put some pride back into our nation and caring for each other and things.

I am very keen to hear of results from the police re this idiocy...

 

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