Concern has prompted the design and installation of two new signs at the Fox River parking and camping area north of Punakaiki.

Both locals and visitors were concerned to see tourists and particularly dogs in areas where birds were resting and nesting on the island and at the beach around the mouth of Fox River.  As freedom camping has ramped up in this beautiful spot, with more New Zealanders camping with their pets, there are more dogs and more people enjoying the area, all the fun potentially impacting birds such as variable oyster catchers and spotted and pied shags now and in the longer term.

The West Coast Penguin Trust has penguins as its main focus but the vision is “Sea and shore birds, and their habitat across the West Coast Te Tai Poutini, are healthy and thriving.

So when the trust was asked for help to raise awareness, we stepped up, designed a sign and appealed to Buller District Council and DOC to print and install it, which they kindly and generously have done.

The signs have just been installed and they look fantastic, raising awareness as intended and prompting discussion.

We have heard: “The wording is spot on and non confrontational and the general feedback already is very positive about how they are welcoming but educational and preventative. Today’s campers were having positive conversations about them'”

An excellent bit of community collaboration to protect shore birds.

The wording is as follows:

BIRD RESTING & NESTING AREA

FOX RIVER ISLAND AND COAST

Oyster catchers, spotted shags, pied shags and other sea and shore birds rest and possibly nest on the river island beside the camping area.  Others nest on and close to the beach. 

This is home for wildlife and cared for by the Fox River community.

Dogs are welcome in the car park and at the beach on a lead or under very close control.

Please, no dogs on the island.