Endangered gulls at Polynesian Spa

December 22, 2016

They may be noisy but did you know that the black-billed gulls at Polynesian Spa are the most threatened gull species in the world?

Sulphur Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, a unique hot spot on our shores, is home to the black-billed gull, as well as the more common red-billed gull. The gulls of Sulphur Bay are also rare as they are not usually found in geothermal environments; these species are typically found along braided rivers, mostly in the South Island.

As for why these birds choose to enjoy this spot – it’s because they have fast metabolic rates and need a lot of energy to fuel flight – the geothermal warmth of Sulphur Bay helps the birds to conserve energy usually used to keep their bodies warm.

At times, the gulls have to nest closer to the shore due to the wet weather and their normal nesting area being washed away. This results in a nosier shoreline, however, if they were to disappear it would be quite a loss to our unique New Zealand environment.

Although red-billed gulls aren’t classified as nationally critical, they are still vulnerable. In parts of New Zealand, red-billed gull populations are expected to fall by 50 to 70 per cent in the next 30 years.

Hopefully next time you relax and soak in our lakeside spas with this view, you’ll be able to experience the wonder of these endangered species.