Endangered piping plover population on the rise, study finds

     (Photo:  Northside Jim/Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey)

    (Photo: Northside Jim/Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey)

    The piping plover population is on the rise in New Jersey.

    An endangered small sand-colored shorebird, the population increased 17% to 108 pairs in 2015, as compared to 2014, according to an annual report from Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

    But the the population still remains below the long-term average (118 pairs) since it appeared on the federal threatened and endangered species list in 1986 and well below the peak population, the report found.

    “The rebound in New Jersey’s piping plover breeding population and a second consecutive year of robust chick productivity was a much needed outcome,” said Conserve Wildlife Foundation Beach Nesting Birdp project manager Todd Pover. “We need to continue our intensive management for a number of years to sustain any recovery, but we were very pleased to have finally broken the recent cycle of low nesting success and the record low number of nesting pairs in 2014.”

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    According to the report, the birds face a number of threats, including intensive human recreational activity on beaches where they nest, high density of predators, and a shortage of highly suitable habitat due to development and extreme habitat alteration.

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