Kaikōura council freedom camping site a new threat to endangered banded dotterel - campaigner

A freedom camping site set up by Kaikōura District Council is under fire for endangering an already threatened bird species.

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Some say campers are putting the threatened bird species in even more danger. Source: 1 NEWS

The camp site, one of three established by the council to reduce the impact of freedom campers, is just metres from a colony of banded dotterels, a native bird on the critically threatened list.

Photographer and campaigner Ailsa Howard says introducing people to their habitat opens them up to the risk of being stepped on or attacked by other predators.

"As the bird moves in towards us, the perceived predator, the bird comes off the nest and the natural predator which is another bird, can swoop in," she said.

"This is my personal view, this isn't an appropriate site because of the wildlife."

Council have acknowledged the site has had problems with a delay in getting proper signage, and visitor numbers which should have been capped at 30, have at times been closer to 100.

Kaikōura District Council chief executive Angela Oosthuizen says they will review the site but are unable to force campers to leave. 

"We don't have a bylaw, so we can't actually enforce but we do go out and educate," she said.

"We need to see if there are measures we can put in to improve things."

The council have asked campers to read and obey any signs and to stay at least 10 metres away from any nesting areas.