PEI

P.E.I. piping plover census to get help from law enforcement, Parks Canada

The Island Nature Trust is gearing up for its annual piping plover census, as well as a summer of protecting nesting sites of the endangered shorebird.

Last year’s census counted only 54 individual plovers nesting on the Island

For their 2016 plans, an Island Nature Trust official says piping plover protection efforts will get an extra boost from provincial law enforcement officials, Parks Canada and Environment Canada. (Kejimkujik National Park)

The Island Nature Trust is prepping for its annual piping plover census, but this summer's efforts to protect nesting sites of the endangered shorebird will get a little help.

This year, the group says those efforts will get an extra boost from provincial law enforcement officials, Parks Canada and Environment Canada.

Julie-Lynn Zahavich says the group will coordinate with enforcement agencies this year to ensure laws to protect wildlife are being followed.

"Whenever we see vehicles on the beach or vehicle tracks on the beach, we notify conservation officers," she said.

There are only 8,000 piping plovers left in the world. They are vulnerable because they nest on beaches where 'fun-loving people want to be' and where they must contend with human traffic, including ATVs. (Pat Wellenbach/Associated Press)

"So they are doing regular checks on piping plover beaches and on beaches across P.E.I. and they sort of put more of an emphasis on those beaches that we make note of, that have these activities going on."

Ongoing population decline

Zahavich says last year's census counted only 54 individual plovers nesting on the Island — one of the lowest numbers since counting began in the mid-90s. 

In June 2014, they counted 57 plovers. Over a decade ago, in 2003, the census showed 112 piping plovers. 

This year's census begins June 4. 

With files from Kerry Campbell

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