Animal rights activists in New Zealand wanted to bring the endangered bird species to safety. But the Ringed Plovers in Chatham cannot be moved – almost all of them are now dead.
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Drama about a group of extremely rare New Zealand birds: Animal rights activists brought 34 Chatham plovers from the mainland to an island, but now nearly all of the animals are probably dead, the Department of Nature Conservation announced. The goal was to increase the number of animals on the predator-free Mana Island off the North Island of New Zealand.
It is estimated that only fewer than 250 specimens of Chatham’s plover remain in the wild. After their release on the island, the birds returned to the mainland – falling victim to cats, rats, and roosters.
Only two of the Chatham plover survived
Some birds were found alive and brought back to Mana Island equipped with radio transmitters. There they seem to have been eaten by a falcon. Only two samples survived. One is now in a wildlife center, the other one has been spotted on the mainland. “We now know that some of the less fortunate species that were on the list of Carreria (New Zealand hawk) appear to have settled on Mana Island in the meantime,” the ministry said.
A chatham plover can be up to 8 inches long and have an orange-red bill with a black tip. According to the failed experiment, ensuring the survival of an endangered species is a complex task. The Mana Island disaster taught researchers a lot for future efforts to protect and preserve Tutoruato, as the species is called in the Maori language.