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  • Southern Black-Backed Gull/Karororo Strategy

    Posted on May 29, 2018 by in Black-backed gull

    HUI/MEETING:     All Zone Committees & stakeholders

    WĀ/MEETING DATE:     May-June 2018

    KAUPAPA/SUBJECT: Canterbury Southern Black-backed Gull/Karoro Strategy

    KAITUHI/AUTHORS: Mike Bell, Donna Lill: Wildlife Management International Limited; Frances Schmechel: Environment Canterbury,



    To inform all Zone Committees and stakeholders of the development of a Southern Black-Backed Gull/Karoro strategy for Canterbury and inviting participation in this process.



    Southern Black-backed Gull/Karoro (SBBG) numbers have increased significantly following the clearance of native vegetation and the shift to an agricultural economy in New Zealand. SBBG are one of the native species which have adapted well to land use changes. Pasture has provided gulls with more foraging area, and easier access to food. SBBG have also readily adapted to new human derived food sources – especially rubbish tips and offal.

    In Canterbury, an estimated 30,000 pairs of SBBG are breeding (so over 60000 individuals), predominately on braided rivers (see map below; data collected during an aerial survey on the region’s major braided rivers in 2016). Based on historical accounts prior to land clearance and conversion to agriculture, SBBG will have only nested as single pairs and not formed the super large or abundant colonies we see today.

    Research on braided rivers have highlighted that SBBG are a significant predator of braided river dependent birds, many of which only breed on these rivers and have declining populations (i.e. wrybill, black-fronted tern, and kaki/ black stilt). The gulls predate the eggs and chicks of most species found on braided rivers. We have direct evidence (through direct observation or video surveillance) of SBBG predating black-billed gull, black-fronted tern, banded dotterel, and wrybill nests.



    Environment Canterbury has contracted Wildlife Management International Ltd (WMIL) to develop a Canterbury Southern Black-backed Gull Strategy. As part of developing this strategy stakeholder meetings will be held to provide you with some background context and, most importantly, to listen to your views.

    This is the first stage of developing the Strategy and WMIL have no clear views formed yet. WMIL are very interested to learn about the stakeholders’ relationship with Southern Black-backed Gull/Karoro, with braided rivers generally and with the other (in many cases endangered) birds which depend on braided rivers.



    WMIL look forward to your attendance at meetings to be held:

    • Tūhaitara Coastal Park (1 Woodend Beach Rd, Woodend Beach) – Monday 2nd July, 10am-12pm
    • Ashburton (Seniors Centre, 206 Cameron St) – Tuesday 3rd July, 1pm-3pm
    • Waihao Marae (26 Maori Rd, Morven) – Wednesday 4th July, morning (time to be confirmed)

    If you are interested in attending one of these meetings please contact Donna Lill :027-460-2885, or so that we can provide you with further information prior to the meeting.

    If you are unable to attend one of these meetings and have information which you would like to provide to our team please call Donna to discuss.

    WMIL welcome you to forward this invitation on to other groups and individuals who may wish to input into the strategy.



    To engage in the process to develop a Southern Black-Backed Gull/Karoro strategy for Canterbury.

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