The method seems to be working for the moment. “It’s awesome,” said Bruce Stuart-Menteath, a local conservationist who deals with the so-called Westland petrels. “Normally, I take about ten roads in a season, this year it was only one,” he explains. The Guardian.
Petrels migrate from South America every year to the town of Punakaiki, a tourist resort with special rock formations and around 100 inhabitants. The arrival of the birds is celebrated every year with a festival.
The animals breed in a specific area of 8 kilometers along a road. This is where things often go wrong, especially since LED lights have been installed on the edge.
The birds would confuse the lights from above with luminous fish that they hide from the sky. When diving, animals sometimes get tangled in electrical wiring, after which they end up on the road and get hit or grabbed by predators. Young birds are particularly victims.
The local government therefore gave permission to turn off the streetlights. So this produced the desired effect. A few dozen kilometers away, in the town of Greymouth, the problem has not yet been resolved. This is where things go wrong more often than usual. In these places, too, local conservationists are urging street lights to be turned off.