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Are we succeeding with black-fronted tern management and how would we know?

Frances A. Schmechel1, Ann-Kathrin V. Schlesselmann2

1 Environment Canterbury, 200 Tuam St., Christchurch, New Zealand.

2 Manaaki Whenua–Landcare Research, Private Bag 1930, Dunedin 9054,

Black-fronted tern/ tarapirohe (Chlidonias albostriatus) are endemic, endangered birds that breed on braided rivers in the South Island.  A large proportion of their breeding habitat is on braided rivers in the Canterbury region. The population is in decline due to a variety of threats including predation and habitat loss. There have been a number of conservation management projects aimed at increasing breeding success and adult survival.  Management activities have included various forms of predator control (ground and/or aerial predators), island enhancement, chick shelters, and weed control.  Little has been formally published on the results of these efforts. This paper reviews the results of several projects, attempts to answer the question ‘are we winning and how would we know?’ and provides recommendations on future direction.