In 2019, a colony of rare, protected gulls established a nesting ground in the ruins of a building demolished after the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ). Authorities intended to move the colony from their ad hoc centre-city location to a more suitable habitat to be constructed in the wetlands in the city’s eastern suburbs. This new habitat was to resemble the gulls’ natural habitat in NZ’s vast braided river plains. But after numerous delays, it seemed like the gulls were preparing for a third breeding season at the site. The conflict between conserving a protective habitat for the rare gulls to breed and progressing city renewal has called into question who belongs in a city and how science should be considered in urban and wildlife policy. Readers will be able to discuss and debate issues with balancing ecological and urban development interests, conflict that leads to contested spaces, and how these influence urban and biodiversity policy decisions.

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