Taylor Swift’s Music Video Film Crew Accused Of Disturbing Endangered Bird’s Habitat

by | PopCrush
Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images
Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images

Taylor Swift‘s squad continues to grow, but it looks like it wont be receiving any members from the dotterel bird community any time soon! Swift and her film crew are in hot water after possibly disturbing the natural habitat of New Zealand’s endangered dotterel while filming a new music video.

Radio NZ reported that the pop star’s film crew was approved by the Commission of Auckland Tourism, Events, and Economic Development to use two vehicles on Bethells Beach on November 23, where only four breeding dotterel birds live. However, allegedly almost a dozen vehicles were used, upsetting NZ conservationists who are now concerned that precious nests could have been crushed.

Sandra Coney, local board chair to the Waitakere Ranges region of Auckland, told the radio station, “There are only two breeding pairs, only four birds, that have been there about 10 years, and they usually fledge only one or two chicks a year. There are only 1,700 dotterels left in New Zealand. So it is a major concern for the board, and as a result we have a dotterel management framework which sets conditions for vehicles on the beach. For instance, they can only go on a certain part of the beach, they can only go at a certain speed and there should always be someone walking in front of the vehicles to make sure there are no dotterels in the way.”

She also added that there are “very few filming applications turned down outright, but we do try and keep the number of vehicles to an absolute minimum, because of the wildlife risk. We really have to look after these birds.”

But the production company at helm of the Swift’s music video, Cherokee Films, issued a statement in defense of Swift, claiming that Swift herself had nothing to do with the filming plans and was unaware of the situation. The statement, which was obtained by the BBC, reads:

“Taylor Swift and her management team were in no way at fault and did not do anything that violated permits or ordinances. Cherokee Films has a long history of responsible film shoots across Auckland, including Bethells Beach, where we have filmed many times. Our shoots have always been with the guidance and support of the relevant local authority — most recently Screen Auckland and Parks — and landowners. Cherokee Films were filming at Bethells Beach on Monday 23rd November where a base camp was set up on private land which allowed for access to the beach. We had permission from the landowners and paid a fee for use of the land. At all times the film crew adhered to the dotterel protocol in guidelines provided about the dotterel nesting sites, and at no time were the film crew close to that habitat. No dotterel were harmed. Our filming occurred outside of the dotterel breeding area (as per referenced map which indicates the area and also the breeding seasons). Once on the beach, via the restricted access zone, the film crew presence was always in the hard sand area only — as per the permit. In acknowledgement of the concern this has added to those in charge of protecting local dotterel population Cherokee Films will make a donation to the breeding program as we support your concerns.”

At this point, Swift should probably just send the local dotterels a few of her Moonmen as a gesture of friendship.

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