Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Help coming for fledging Westland Petrels with plans to hood street lights

The New Zealand Transport Agency is sourcing hoods for the street lights around Punakaiki on the western coast of South Island to minimise the fallout problem for the globally Endangered and ACAP-listed Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica.

A downed Westland Petrel fledgling is released to sea the next day

The existing lights have led to groundings of fledglings in past seasons, with some birds then being hit and killed by vehicles at night (click here).

"Westland petrel chicks are leaving the nest for the first time between November and January and can be disorientated by lights and poor weather at the very start of their long journey to South America.  90% of petrels found downed due to disorientation by lights are fledglings.  Tragically, many are disorientated by vehicle or street lights and come down on roads.  Black birds on a black road at night are highly likely to be involved in a collision and are often killed.  They also need height to launch themselves, so if they come down on the road, they are likely to be stranded" (read more here).

Information from the Westland Petrel Conservation Trust.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 November 2019

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