Feral cats decimating black-fronted tern colonies on the Clarence River
This video shows how one of the largest colonies of black-fronted tern colonies in the Acheron and Clarence River are under attack. Here, the stoat is killing an adult tern on the nest. The stoat didn’t even eat the bird, just killed it and moved on to another nest. When the footage was shot in December 2015, the colony had gone from 50 nests, down to 7.
Over Christmas a feral cat wiped out the last colony of black-fronted terns on the Acheron River. If you look closely in this video you can see the cat arrive at a nest with a chick in its mouth, it then proceeds to catch a second chick, and carries them both off. This colony is on an island surrounded by reasonable channels, but the river levels are so low that the crossing has not put this guy off. All up 35 nests were eaten over 4 nights. On a brighter note we have our first fledglings on the Clarence River, and the large colony with trapping continues to do well, although the river has dropped so much that the channel separating this from the mainland has dried up. Hopefully the chicks will fledge soon before a predator discovers a way across.
Funding for the project courtesy of Department of Conservation and Environment Canterbury.
The tropics is heading our way and pushing drought ahead of it.
As Earth’s dry zones shift rapidly polewards, researchers are scrambling to figure out the cause — and consequences.
“We’re talking about rapid expansion that’s within half or a third of a human lifetime. In the worst-case scenario, the subtropics will overtake these ecologically rich outposts and the hotter, drier conditions will take a major toll.”- From The Mystery of the Expanding Tropics (Nature; 02 February)