The Environment & Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD) and the St Helena National Trust report that three endemic Wirebirds have been killed – over a seven day period (10-17 April 2016) – on the road between Reggie’s Takeaway, Bottom Woods, and the Millennium Forest Junction. This is the third Wirebird case since November 2015 and represents a loss of around 0.6% of the entire species.
The endemic Wirebird is unique to St Helena, and over the last 15 years the average count on St Helena (and consequently in the World) is just 368 birds. They are an integral part of St Helena’s natural heritage and identity – and are a protected species.
Director of the St Helena National Trust, Jeremy Harris, said:
“With all the hard work that has been put in to protecting the Wirebird it is tragic to see a relatively high number of birds being killed by traffic. And as this road becomes more heavily used the risk of the birds being killed increases.
“We urge drivers to be vigilant and cautious. Wirebirds are not accustomed to fast-moving traffic, and the young birds particularly are not good at getting out of the way of oncoming vehicles.
“We ask that drivers be prepared to stop if they see a Wirebird on the road and request that all incidents be reported to ENRD or the National Trust so that we can keep a record of the number of cases and consider further measures if necessary.”
The public is reminded of the Wirebird warning signs which have been installed to advise drivers they are travelling through an area where Wirebirds are common (pictured). Drivers are again reminded of the importance of keeping under the road speed limits.
The public should also note that the wider Horse Point area is a significant nesting location for Wirebirds and any vehicles, including quads and motorcycles, should be driven only on the established track, and not off-road.
This is for the protection of St Helena’s endemic natural heritage. We thank the public in advance for their continued cooperation.
18 May 2016