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December 2011 Issue
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Born free?

This is one of fifty shore plovers – 20 per cent of the world population – spotted on a beach near Plimmerton. There are less than 250 of these birds left in the world. The Plimmerton plovers were originally from the Department of Conservation’s breeding programme on Mana Island. Once widespread across the South Island cats, stoats and rats now threaten this small group of escapees. DOC plans to recapture the birds and take them back to Mana Island for their own safety. Introduced predators are the biggest threat to New Zealand’s native species. Without efforts to control them, birds like the plover will never be free to repopulate their natural homes.

– Fraser Crichton