Dogs are being banned on a section of a Suffolk nature reserve between April and September in an effort to protect a rare species of bird with a declining population.

Charity The Landguard Trust will not be allowing dogs on or off lead on the southern section of Landguard Nature Reserve in Felixstowe between April 1 and September 30 to try and revive numbers of Ringed Plover, which have become a less common sight.

The wading bird is considered an iconic species at the site, close to the 18th century fort and nests on the ground amongst the rare, vegetated, shingle habitat, but is especially disturbed by the presence of dogs, as well as people, kites and drones.

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The species is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and is on the Red List of birds of conservation concern in the UK.

Cordons have been set up to reduce disturbance and trampling around nesting sites, but the birds need to feed on the beach, where they continue to be disturbed and where the chicks are at their most vulnerable.

Fishing is also forbidden in front of the cordons as it also causes disturbance and attracts predators.

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East Anglian Daily Times: The Ringed Plover is considered an iconic species at Landguard Nature Reserve in FelixstoweThe Ringed Plover is considered an iconic species at Landguard Nature Reserve in Felixstowe (Image: Sean Nixon)Dogs will continue to be allowed to exercise on or off lead on the northern sections of the nature reserve, including the beaches and can be walked on the lead to the landward side of the cordons.

Fishing can take place on the northern section and along the river.

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In a statement, the trust said: "Ringed Plover are an iconic species here at Landguard and although very much loved by visitors, are becoming a less common sight.

"We hope with the public’s help and consideration they continue to successfully breed here for many years to come."

READ MORE: Suffolk news