Southern Dotterel / Tūturiwhatu

New Zealand Dotterel stretching
Credit: Glenda Rees

Please donate and help the NZ Nature Fund save the critically endangered Southern Dotterel/ Tūturiwhatu from extinction.

The Southern NZ Dotterel is one of the closest birds on the planet to extinction. There is estimated to be just 101 individual birds as of April 2024— representing a 19% decline since 2023.

Southern Dotterels are no ordinary shorebirds. They feed on beaches and estuaries for most of the year, but when the breeding season comes around in spring they migrate to the remote mountain tops of Rakiura (Stewart Island) and stay on the island until their chicks are old enough to return to the mudflats and estuaries of the Southland coast, in February.

Unfortunately, Southern Dotterels are highly motivated parents to defend nests and chicks against feral cats. Because of that predation threat a Southern NZ Dotterel’s average life expectancy is currently 4-5 years instead of up to 30 years.

New Zealand Nature Fund has committed to raising $400,000 to save the Southern New Zealand Dotterel. Donations will be used to cut more tracks in and around the bird’s breeding areas; build bivvies so the DOC team can stay longer in the remote alpine area and to increase satellite tracking of the birds.

Will future generations ask why we didn’t do more to save the Southern New Zealand Dotterel?

That’s the question that Southern NZ Dotterel ranger Daniel Cocker poses at the end of a compelling just released documentary ‘Underbirds: the Fight to Save the Southern New Zealand Dotterel’ (see link to documentary below).

Filmed over a week at Rakiura (Stewart Island) during the 2023 nesting season, the documentary gives an amazing insight into the urgent and desperate fight to save our most endangered native bird. Underbirds was filmed as a part of the Directors’ Science Communication degrees at the University of Otago by students Abi Liddell, Brady Clarke, and Isabella Lewis.

101
Adults left
80k
Per year, needed for 5 years
1910
Last spotted on the mainland
0
Captive breeding facilities
Declining populations

In 1991, the Southern dotterel population plummeted to an all-time low of just 62 birds.

Rakiura is the last refuge for these birds, but it is still not safe. Feral cats frequently predate on adult birds and their chicks. White-tail deer and rats have also been observed scavenging dotterel eggs.

Supporting this cause will aid desperate pest control efforts in remote dotterel breeding habitats, helping to protect the birds when they are most vulnerable. Additionally, it will help fund monitoring and research of the species.

Please help us raise the rest and save this critically endangered species.

Donate to support this project

Please donate and help the NZ Nature Fund save the critically endangered Southern Dotterel/ Tūturiwhatu from extinction.

Donate to this project
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