The children have learned about conservation at school and through their community’s strong values so they are not about to sit back when dogs harass grey faced petrels nesting on cliffs at Tutukaka.

(Left) Ranger Nigel Miller putting up the DoC sign.

Recently petrels nesting near the Tutukaka Lighthouse Reserve have been attacked — with a couple killed — by dogs.

Department of Conservation (DoC) staff have installed more signs along the walkway to remind people of the law banning dogs from the area.

Ngunguru School children who have been doing pest control on the reserve with Tutukaka Landcare Coalition recently visited the lighthouse to take a closer look at a petrel burrow.

The grey-faced petrel is a dark brown oceanic seabird that breeds in high burrows on Northland’s east coast islands and a few mainland headlands.

They begin breeding in the middle of winter but many chicks don’t fledge until the height of summer.

Also called the northern muttonbird, the petrels were once heavily harvested for food.

Their numbers are making a comeback as more breeding islands have been cleared of pests.

The Ngunguru pupils are now going to write a letter to DoC about why it is important to keep dogs out of reserves and have made signs of their own asking pet owners to take more care.

Children from that school have been involved for several years in a replanting programme on the lighthouse headland.


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