Thursday, 16 July 2020


Litter on coast a threat to wildlife

A protected red bill gull was caught on a fishing line and hook and left dangling (alive) from a cliff at Cathedral Cove on Thursday last week. 

The bird could not be reached, and eventually had to be shot by a senior ranger from the Department of Conservation’s Whitianga Office. The unsuccessful rescue and shooting were witnessed by a large crowd of people in the area, both on sea and land.

Coromandel DOC operations manager, Nick Kelly, says this serves as a timely reminder to us all that any rubbish or equipment we leave behind or unsecured can have serious consequences for our wildlife. “There’s nothing more Kiwi than heading down to the beach for a picnic or a spot of fishing over the summer months,” he says. “But if you, your family or friends are heading out to enjoy some of our spectacular coastline, there are a few key things you can do to ensure you minimise your impact on our wildlife.

“Always use the toilet facilities when appropriate, give wildlife their space and last, but by no means least, take all of your rubbish and equipment with you when you leave.

All too often the rubbish and equipment left at our beaches find their way into the ocean and this can cause problems for all sea life. For many marine animals, small pieces of rubbish can look like food and these can be extremely harmful if ingested. The same risks are posed by discarded fishing hooks and baited or tangled lines. These can be lethal for seabirds who swallow the hooks or become entangled in the lines.

The coast can be a windy place and it only takes a small gust for loose wrappers and lightweight equipment to find their way out to sea. We can limit this accidental littering by immediately placing all rubbish or fishing equipment in a dedicated bag or lidded container that cannot easily blow away. If there is not a dedicated bin in the area, then you will need to take your rubbish with you when you leave. 

Please remember, whether you are a local or on holiday, we share our beaches and oceans with a wide variety of other animals - all of which must live in the places we visit, long after we have gone. If you see rubbish on the beach, even if it is not yours, please pick it up and help to keep our wildlife safe.


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