19 Jan 2024

Westland locals patrol for downed petrels

From Morning Report, 8:50 am on 19 January 2024

DOC estimates dozens of Westland Petrels were saved from State Highway 6 near Punakaiki during the 2023-2024 fledgling season, which has just come to an end.

The bird, also known as the tāiko, has just 4000 mating pairs and only breeds in one location - an eight-kilometre stretch of coastal forest, which requires a treacherous flight across State Highway 6 before they can fly on to South America.

Westland petrel being relaunched from cliffs

Photo: Supplied / Denise Howard

Many birds have fallen victim to that road, so volunteers now do nightly patrols of the highway to rescue any tāiko which have lost their way.

Morning Report producer Emma Ricketts reports.