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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Endangered Species

Posted on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM

For the most part, people in Nova Scotia are respectful of signage indicating beach nesting grounds of endangered species like the Piping Plover. However, there are still some people out there that are either illiterate or ignorant to the point of retardation. There are 3 new chicks on an unnamed beach in HRM and there is no adult in sight. Somehow they are surviving but they are extremely vulnerable for the next 2 or 3 weeks as they are still flightless.

Volunteers have been working diligently to keep them safe and educate the public. Unfortunately, the volunteers have had to chase people away who were playing volley ball in the nesting area, others have vandalized the signs, and still another group of morons set a bonfire on the beach in the middle of the nesting grounds and tried to use the signs as fire wood. One of the biggest threats though are irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs run wild on the beach chasing birds. These same people will profess to be animal lovers will give the volunteers attitude like "who cares?" It's a big beach people. The nesting grounds are clearly marked as a voluntary method of giving these endangered species a fighting chance. The protected area can't be more than 2 to 3 hundred feet. Is it too much to ask to:

* Keep clear of signs marking sensitive nesting areas;
* Walk on the wet sand;
* Keep pets leashed;
* Take food and trash off the beach;
* Do not drive off-road vehicles on beaches and dunes.

These little "sparrow sized" birds are very difficult to spot as they blend in so well with their surroundings. Each one of them is precious and none more so than nesting birds and their chicks.

The 1996 International Piping Plover Census counted 5,913 adult Piping Plovers in the world. From this total, 422 adults (7 % of the world’s population) used the beaches of Atlantic Canada in the summer to raise their young. The species is only found in North America. The Plovers migrate south in late summer to winter in Cuba, the Bahamas, Mexico, and the United States along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. In 1996 there were only 80 adult Piping Plovers left in Nova Scotia and that number has declined even further since then. Some put their remaining numbers at only 30 pairs of breeding Piping Plovers. It is a wiser person who becomes part of the conservation effort. For more information and a chance to volunteer please go to: http://www.bsc-eoc.org/volunteer/nsplover/index.jsp?targetpg=index&lang=EN

---banjon

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