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Dogs work for Conservation

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Conservation dogs showed their skills off at local Bay of Islands' schools recently with 'Cody' who is trained to track and catch rodents, 'Ruby' a hunting dog trained to avoid kiwi and 'Tohu' trained to track and locate kiwi.

More than 300 children from Mangamuka, Ohaeawai, Umawera, Kaeo and Okaihau Primary Schools were introduced to these dogs who work for conservation by Bay of Islands Department of Conservation (DOC) staff.

Okaihau Primary School Principal Tim Couling says, "The children really enjoyed the sessions and learnt a lot about kiwi and how dogs can affect them."

Heather Taylor, DOC Weeds Ranger, Bay of Islands Area Office, says "It was a really awesome experience. The combination of rat dog, pig dog and kiwi dog all in one place was a real buzz. Teachers and kids at all the schools gave us all a warm reception and thanked us beyond what we had actually done."

Trev Bullock, a Bay of Islands Area DOC staff member, brought his kiwi aversion trained dog along as part of the dogs in conservation sessions. He says, "I found the school visits enjoyable and I think the kids, the teachers and helpers also did, judging by the questions asked and the interest shown. The dogs were definitely stars on the day."

Also part of Conservation Week was the highly successful Kiwi Aversion Training held at Puketi Forest Headquarters. According to Sara Barber-Kusanic (Programme Manager - Biodiversity Threats, Bay of Islands Area Office) says, "Lesley Baigent did an amazing job in getting close on 90 dogs through. A mammoth effort! We had a lot of unregistered people turn up with their dogs that we had to unfortunately turn away. Hopefully another kiwi aversion training session will be run in the near future."

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