Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Predation on NZ shorebirds

Dowding, J. E., & Murphy, E. C. (2001). The impact of predation by introduced mammals on endemic shorebirds in New Zealand: a conservation perspective.Biological Conservation, 99(1), 47-64.

The avifauna of New Zealand has been severely depleted since human colonisation and currently contains a disproportionately high number of threatened species. Of the 23 threatened shorebird species worldwide, six are endemic to New Zealand. We review the status of New Zealand's endemic shorebirds and examine the impact on them of various threats, particularly predation by introduced mammals. The conservation status of the 10 extant species (three oystercatchers, one stilt, four plovers and two snipe) is outlined and the factors that predisposed them to predation by introduced mammals are summarised. Individual species accounts are presented, including data on population trends, known or suspected impacts of predation, identification of important predator species, other threats, and conservation measures currently in place or required. One species and two subspecies are extinct, three species are confined to predator-free islands and another is found only on the Chatham Islands group. Six survive on the mainland but three have declined to varying degrees and are assigned threatened status by Collar et al. (1994). Only one plover and two oystercatchers are still relatively numerous and/or widespread. Rats, cats and mustelids have had the greatest overall impacts. Conservation measures in place to mitigate the effects of introduced predators include the formulation of recovery plans, predator control around breeding areas, captive breeding and rearing programmes and the founding of new populations by translocation. There are often substantial differences in susceptibility to predation of closely related or ecologically similar taxa, and we stress the importance of basing conservation management decisions on relevant and detailed demographic and ecological studies. The main threat to threatened shorebirds elsewhere in the world is loss or degradation of habitat; the disproportionate impact of mammalian predators on New Zealand shorebirds is unusual but not unique.

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