Foundation North has granted of $25,000 to New Zealand Fairy Tern Charitable Trust, to support its crucial work protecting the last 40 fairy terns (tara iti) alive.
The Trust was established in 2008 by a group of volunteers who had been assisting the Department of Conservation in monitoring the critically endangered birds for many years. Today its main activities are advocacy and public education, logistical support of volunteers on four breeding grounds, and the management of predator control, particularly at Mangawhai, the fairy tern's most important breeding location.
Foundation North said the grant would enable the trust to continue its pest and predator control programme in the Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge, protecting the fairy tern and other shorebirds that nest there.
Trust chair Heather Rogan said the predator control programme was begun in 2012, and had improved fairy tern breeding success, with much of the credit for that going to trapper Reg Whale and his conservation dog Kenny.
"Reg Whale's trapping prowess has meant that no birds, chicks or eggs have been lost to the predators targeted since the start of the programme," Rogan said.
Reg led the predator control work all year round, with support from Department of Conservation rangers during the breeding season.
"We're so lucky to have Reg, with his knowledge and his commitment to fairy terns," one of the volunteers said.
"He's always available to help DOC rangers and the volunteers. He went the extra mile to get Kenny certified as a conservation dog, and now he's in demand all over the country."
Jane Vaughan, former volunteer co-ordinator at Mangawhai, agreed.
" It's so good to know when you're out ion the fairy tern breeding area, if you see footprints that look like a cat or some other predator you can phone Reg and he can be there in 10 minutes," she said.
Foundation North said the trust's work would enable the fairy tern to survive for generations to come, a win for them and for bird lovers of Aotearoa.
Foundation North, the community trust for Auckland and Northland, recently distributed $3.4 million in grants to not-for-profit organisations and community initiatives across the region. The Foundation has refreshed its strategy to distribute funding into four key focus areas- increased equity, social inclusion, regenerative environment and community support.