Park ban gives hooded plovers a fighting chance

12 Mar 2016 3:45 PM - Park ban gives hooded plovers a fighting chance
Hooded Plover

Park ban gives hooded plovers a fighting chance

 Jason Dowling (The Age 12 March 2016)

The threatened hooded plover has been thrown a lifeline, with dogs to be banned from a key breeding ground – the Mornington Peninsula National Park.  From November this year dogs will be banned from the entire park – dog walking is currently permitted in 14.5 kilometres of the 42-kilometre national park coastline. The ban follows failed efforts to mitigate the impact of dogs on the hooded plover population.

 The government said tougher dog rules introduced in 2013 had been unsuccessful, with only five chicks fledging (reaching wing-feather age) from a total of 245 eggs during two breeding seasons. Birdlife Australia monitoring data from the Mornington Peninsula National Park shows that 70 per cent of hooded plover chicks were successfully fledged in areas where dogs are prohibited.

 Renee Mead, beach nesting birds project officer with Birdlife Australia, said the dog ban was great news. ‘‘We welcome this announcement ... these birds on the Mornington Peninsula have one of the highest concentrations and lowest rates of breeding success.’’ She said the hooded plover is one of our most threatened species and is listed as vulnerable, and here are 28 to 30 breeding pairs of hooded plovers on the peninsula.

Steve Karakitsos, president of the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability, said they were ecstatic with the news. He said the ban meant the plover ‘‘is going to have the best chance ever in terms of being able to regenerate’’.

Inline images 2