A temporary change to dog access rules at the northern end of Snells Beach has been implemented by Auckland Council to protect endangered wildlife.
Dogs are prohibited from all beach areas north of the Sunburst Ave boat ramp up until March 30.
All beach areas south of this point are still subject to current rules. The summer rules between December 1 and March 1 allow for dogs to be under control and off leash between 5pm and 10am, and prohibited at all other times.
A Council spokesperson says Snells Beach provides important habitat to hundreds of native shorebirds with its extensive foraging habitat at low tide and areas of shell bank along the marginal strip which birds use to roost and nest.
The change in dog access has been implemented to protect native shorebird species such as the NZ fairy tern, NZ dotterel, variable oystercatchers and bar tailed godwits.
The fairy tern is considered the most endangered endemic bird in New Zealand. Juvenile fairy terns have recently started roosting at Snells Beach and a pair of dotterels hatched three chicks in December despite various challenges, including spring tides and roaming cats and dogs. The Council spokesperson says their survival to date is most surely due to the dedication and help of community members.
“Bar-tailed godwits are incredible birds which undertake the longest nonstop migration of any non-seabird – travelling from Alaska to New Zealand and back every year,” she says. “It is important godwits have the space to rest and forage over summer in NZ to ensure they are healthy for their return trip to breed in Alaska.”
Meanwhile, a total of 197 infringement notices were issued to dog owners in Auckland between November 1 last year and January 8. Wandering dogs was the biggest issue, with 122 infringements issued.
Dogs off a leash followed, with 40 infringements, followed by 35 infringements for failure to control, each carrying a $300 fine.
Council implemented changes to the Dog Management Bylaw at the start of November, introducing consistent rules across the region.