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Community goes to the wall to help save hooded plover

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A new mural has been unveiled at Sorrento back beach to draw the public’s attention to the plight of one of the Peninsula’s most recognisable and loved birds, the hooded plover. The mural was created by internationally acclaimed Melbourne-based street artist and graphic designer Jimmy Dvate, who is known for his depictions of Australian animals and characters on grain silos in rural Victoria, and was launched on Saturday, February 29, near the Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club by members of Friends of the Hooded Plover and Parks Victoria.

The larger-than-life mural, which graces a wall in Mornington Peninsula National Park, was paid for through the sale of hooded plover merchandise to raise awareness of the threats facing the beach-nesting bird. Hooded plover chick mortality contributes to a mere 2.5 per cent success rate from egg to fledgling, which is one of the lowest avian breeding success rates in the world. The park’s back beaches are host to the second-largest resident breeding population of hooded plovers in Victoria, but the population has the poorest breeding outcome of any coastal area.

Birds of prey, high tides and extreme weather are among the natural threats facing the hooded plover, which is also forced to contend with predation and attacks by dogs, foxes and feral cats as well as disruption to its nests and eggs by summer beach-goers. To mitigate these threats and increase the fledgling survival rate, Parks Victoria and Friends of the Hooded Plover carry out regular breeding monitoring and site management activities through the Hooded Plover Threatened Species Program, which is run by BirdLife Australia.

“Residents and regular visitors to Mornington Peninsula National Park will be familiar with the plight of hooded plovers,” said Parks Victoria’s area chief ranger, Kris Rowe. “It’s vital we protect this unique beach-nesting species as best we can.

“We’re really lucky here in Victoria to have coastal national parks that provide a home to magnificent creatures such as the hooded plover,” Kris said. “It’s important that the community understands how best we can protect them. The mural is a great way to communicate that message.”

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