Man’s best friend will have to make way for some of our endangered feathered friends on Waiheke Island.
A popular dog-walking spot has been temporarily closed to protect the nesting sites of endangered New Zealand dotterels that have recently established in the area.
The Surfdale Beach area where dogs can’t go is east of 92 The Esplanade and all of Hooks Lane Beach. The temporary change applies until the end of the nesting season on 28 February.
"We know people love to exercise their dogs in the area, but this is quite exciting because dotterels have never nested here before, so we need to help protect their nesting sites," Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley says.
"We are confident dog owners will extend their love of animals to out dotterels because they are incredibly rare and protecting them is important."
Dogs are prohibited from the area with immediate effect to “avoid danger, distress and nuisance between dogs and dotterels and their nests and young”.
Signs have been placed in the area and will remain until the ban ends.
Waiheke is a hotspot for the dotterel, which has a global population of just over 2300 birds.
A few pairs breed on Waiheke and after breeding move to a flocking site at the western end of Blackpool Beach, where they spend autumn and winter before returning to their breeding sites elsewhere on the island.
Breeding and roosting habitat for shorebirds is limited and much of it is under pressure from development and recreational activities, including dog walking.
New activities like kite-surfing are placing added pressure on formerly quiet and secure roosting and breeding sites.