Sunday, April 14, 2024

NZ-first bird protection programme soars

The Wellington Cable Car is protecting the lives of native birdlife with the installation of specially designed decals to prevent birds flying into the windows of its Kelburn Terminal.

The Wellington Cable Car Bird Strike Prevention programme is a joint initiative with the not-for-profit Urban Wildlife Trust.

The trust crowd-funded almost half the $30,000 (includes scaffolding and installation) required to bird-proof the terminal’s windows using the Canadian-made Feather Friendly® product – the first time it’s been used in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The decals are a series of small dots which are relatively unobtrusive to the human eye but act as a beacon of danger to birds.

Wellington Cable Car Chief Executive, Cesar Piotto says the most at-risk birds of flying into the terminal’s windows are species such as kererū.

“The windows on the northern and southern sides of the terminal will have external decals installed as they are in the regular flight path of these larger birds which see the windows as open air space and fly into them. Sadly, we regularly find evidence of this occurring,” he said.

“This year is the Cable Car’s 120th anniversary and it’s nice to know that bird species that would have been around back then have returned thanks to work of organisations such as the Wellington City Council, Zealandia, Great Wellington Regional Council, and community restoration groups.

“All of us at the Cable Car are motivated to play our part in helping keep our native taonga safe so they can flourish.”

Cable Car decals being installed with scaffolding around terminal
Cable Car decals being installed in March 2022

Urban Wildlife Trust spokesperson, Tony Stoddard is urging other Wellington commercial building owners to adopt the technology.

“Together we can support the restoration of native bird numbers through simple measures like this. It will lead to an invaluable gift to future generations who will thankfully never know what it’s like to live without these native species,” he said.

“I would also like to call out to all of those who pledged money for the initiative. You have made a tangible difference towards conservation and making Wellington a better place to live and visit.”

Wellington Mayor, Andy Foster, congratulated the Wellington City Council-owned Cable Car company and the Urban Wildlife Trust on their partnership.

“It is yet another illustration of our community coming together to make a positive difference and contribute to our city’s long-term world-leading environmental restoration journey,” the Mayor said.

“In a world where wildlife is in decline, Wellington and Wellingtonians are bucking the trend. Every day I see evidence of increasing numbers of kererū and other native birds, especially in the forested western suburbs and hills. This initiative will help keep our feathered friends safer in our urban environment.”

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne Chief Executive Dr Danielle Shanahan says “As Wellington’s bird biodiversity continues to increase, the Cable Car is showing us all how we can relearn how to live with nature in cities. Preventing window strike is a great thing that all of us can do to reduce the risks to wildlife.”

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