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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

A sustained biosecurity programme

Biosecurity team leader Matt Smith said that since the 1990s, rooks have been a declared pest under multiple regional programmes. Back in the 90s, Canterbury’s rook population was estimated to be in the thousands.

“Through a lot of hard work, they have been reduced in number over time. We thought we had about three left in 2018, and two of those were subsequently found and killed,” he said.

“Over the past year there were various sightings of another rook. It was sighted on a property in North Canterbury by the farm manager and we got someone up there to confirm it was in fact a rook. About a week later a worker on the farm managed to sight it and kill it the following day.

“As far as we know, it is the last one in Canterbury. We know that since 2018 there have only been single sightings. And because they are quite social birds and hang out together, that was a good sign.

“An older male bird was the last one we’ve had sightings of and we’re hopeful that was the last one in the region,” he said.