TWO hooded plover chicks emerged from their eggs at the weekend, with the hatchings prompting temporary dog exclusion zones at Fairhaven and Whites Beach.
The temporary exclusion zones will be introduced by Great Ocean Road Coastal Committee (GORCC) and supported by voluntary compliance patrols and educational resources for the affected areas.
Dogs are one of the biggest threats to hooded plover chick survival, a species that is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1999.
There are five known breeding sites along GORCC-managed land, and hooded plovers require human assistance to survive.
“Breeding zones are an extremely important habitat for the hoodies and we ask that all beach users observe the exclusion zones to give chicks the best chance of survival,” GORCC said in a statement on Monday.
“Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast (FoHPSC) volunteers have been working tirelessly to monitor nest sites and guard the chicks every day during the nesting season, alongside regular patrols by GORCC’s conservation team.”
Hooded plover breeding sites include Point Roadknight, Whites Beach, Point Impossible, Painkalac Estuary and Moggs Creek.
Additional zones will be declared at areas where and when other hooded plover chicks hatch.