Chatham Island pigeon conservation
The Chatham Island pigeon or parea (Hemiphaga chathamensis) is one of two species of native pigeon in New Zealand. It is heavier than the New Zealand pigeon, and has a red bill with an orange tip.
Tuku Nature Reserve
Due to the loss of much of Chatham Island's original forest cover, parea are now restricted to the south-west of the island, in the Tuku Nature Reserve and adjacent covenants.
The 1,238 ha Tuku Nature Reserve was donated to the Crown by Manuel and Evelyn Tuanui in 1983. Since its protection the forest has improved, providing more food and habitat for parea.
Parea killed by cat
Parea spend much time on the ground grazing on leaves and fruit, making them an easy target for feral cats. Cats, possums and rats can also easily access parea nests which can often be in low vegetation or on the ground.
DOC undertakes cat, rat and possum control within the Tuku Nature Reserve and assists owners of adjacent Conservation Covenants to do the same.
Unfortunately, sometimes traps set to protect parea sometimes catch parea. Considerable effort is put into trap placement and understanding parea behavour to avoid this.
DOC carries out surveys during the breeding season every five years, to help us understand the population size and trend.
A survey found that the population has increased to around 500 birds, from a population low of 40 in the late 1980s.
Help of landowners
Landowners have helped protect the habitat of the parea by creating reserves and fencing remnant bush to keep out stock. Predator control has also been carried out.
You can help
Sightings of parea outside the south-west Chathams are of interest and should be reported to the Chatham Islands DOC office.
If you are travelling to the Chatham Islands, or transporting goods or livestock there, be careful that you don't introduce pest animals and plants or diseases. These could threaten the flora and fauna in this unique environment.
Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) immediately if you see anyone catching, harming or killing native wildlife.
Help protect our native birds
When visiting parks, beaches, rivers, and lakes
- Only take dogs to areas that allow them, and keep them under control.
- Check your gear for mice and rats when visiting pest-free islands.
- Leave nesting birds alone.
- Use available access ways to get to the beach.
- Avoid leaving old fishing lines on beaches or in the sea.
- Follow the water care code and local navigation bylaws.
- Don't drive on riverbeds, or keep to formed tracks if you have to.
Other ways to help
- Get your dog trained in avian awareness.
- Volunteer with DOC or other groups to control predators and restore bird habitats.
- Set traps for stoats or rats on your property. Get more information from your local DOC office.
- Put a bell on your cat's collar, feed it well, and keep it indoors at dusk/dawn and at night.