Two military helicopters airlifted tonnes of seashell to a protected reserve in Mangawhai earlier this month in a bid to support New Zealand’s most endangered native bird species.
An NZ Air Force NH90 helicopter and a Navy Seasprite helicopter hoisted 50 tonnes of coarse seashell into the dunes at the Mangawhai fairy tern sanctuary in the hope that the New Zealand fairy tern can use the shells to build their nests.
The packages of shell will be arranged across two sites in the sanctuary by members of local iwi, Te Uri o Hau.
Department of Conservation ranger Ayla Wiles says fairy terns, also known as tara iti, are attracted to coarse shell for nesting because it provides them with good camouflage. ... read more