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The Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group had captured footage of two four-wheel-drives coming within 2m of nesting wrybills and banded dotterels.
With only 5500 wrybills left, volunteer Grant Davey said the alleged culprits were threatening the very survival of this unique species.
"(Environment Canterbury) have signs up all along the river, saying that four-wheel-drives are not allowed out there from the first of September to the end of January.
"So it's actually fairly hard to avoid those signs."
Davey said the footage, including the number plate details, had been sent to the Department of Conservation, and he hoped the drivers were reminded of the potential consequences of their actions.
Anyone found to have killed protected wildlife can be fined up to $100,000 or imprisoned for up to two years.