Some of the country's rarest birds have been been returned to their habitats as Bay of Plenty shores are cleared of oil from the grounded container ship Rena.[image:3886:third:right]
Seventeen dotterels, which had been pre-emptively caught and held to prevent them being affected by oil, were released on Thursday after Maramarua beach was declared safe following cleaning.
The release was led by shorebird specialist John Dowding, who says the birds have readjusted well since then.
Dr Dowding says he hopes the dotterels, of which there are only 1500 in the country, can still breed as they lay eggs through to January.
The Wildlife Response Team has already released some penguins back into their habitats and is preparing to free more next week.
Beach clean ups continued on Friday in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa and around Leisure Island.