DUXBURY, Mass. - An effort to protect piping plovers on a Duxbury beach from foxes and other predators on a popular beach is raising eyebrows nearly a year after it started.
According to the Patriot-Ledger, more than 5,000 people have signed a petition calling for the end of the program that's expected to start up again this summer when plovers will begin laying eggs again.
Beach management officials say the program is is the only way to protect the area’s population of piping plovers while also keeping the beach open to the public.
Last year, 10 foxes and five coyotes were killed in Duxbury -- preventing them from killing the endangered shorebird.
However, some wildlife advocates aren’t buying that argument, saying one animal shouldn’t be killed to protect another.
Duxbury Beach Reservation signed onto a state plan that called for the killing of foxes last year and now contracts with the federal government to do its predator mitigation.
The piping plovers, foxes and coyotes are tracked by the animal and plant health inspection service.
According to Mass. Wildlife, efforts to revive the piping plover over the last 30 years appear to be working.
The bird was listed as endangered from 1986 until 2016.
The bird's population has grown from about 139 pairs to more than 600, amounting to more than a 360 percent increase.
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