Protected gulls killed by quad bike and cars at Taiaroa Head

WARNING: Some may find the images and 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 this morning, 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 this morning arrived to find the dead birds, empty beer bottles, and extensive tyre marks throughout the parking lot, he said.

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

The late night rampage also damaged fences around the car park of the albatross colony. Photos:...
The late night rampage also damaged fences around the car park of the albatross colony. Photos: Supplied
At this stage in the gulls’ breeding season in the evenings up to 1000 chicks congregated in the car park 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.

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.

About 30 re-billed gulls were killed in the incident. Photo: Supplied
About 30 re-billed gulls were killed in the incident. Photo: Supplied
Department of Conservation ranger Colin Facer called driving over and killing adult birds and chicks both "clueless" and "gutless".

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

Those responsible could be prosecuted under the wildlife act, he said. 

Comments

Desperately sad...so many fools in the community...I hope the police work hard on this, and that the courts do more than scold the offenders

Some people could charm the paint off walls, couldn't they? How totally pointless. These characters really are the human equivalent of weasels.

Put a barrier up at the concrete blocks.
humans are plain weird

 

drivesouth-pow-classic-2.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter