Victoria's beach-nesting hooded plovers will resume their path to extinction unless the threat from horses, dogs and humans is not stopped, BirdLife Australia says.
The group's work on the Belfast Coastal Reserve, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, has found the region supports a key population of the threatened hooded plover but the birds are often mauled by dogs, have eggs accidentally crushed by beachgoers, and face trampling by horses.
"The recent introduction of commercial horse training to the beaches of this public reserve has led to nests and eggs being increasingly disturbed," local BirdLife Australia volunteer Toni Ryan said in a statement.
"Plovers are put at further risk by off-leash dogs chasing and mauling chicks and adult birds, or crushing eggs in the nest."
BirdLife Australia says Victoria's environment laws are failing the hooded plovers because they are weak and not enforced properly.
The organisation is holding an open community forum on Thursday night to call for direct government action to improve Australia's environment laws or risk the extinction of many unique Australian birds.