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Kaweka kiwi at risk from missing dogs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hawke’s Bay’s largest kiwi population may be at risk from two dogs that are loose in the Kaweka Forest Park.

The dogs entered the forest park on Sunday July 1 with their owner. They escaped from Little’s Clearing carpark and have not been seen since.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Ahuriri-Napier ranger Rod Hansen says he is extremely concerned for the welfare of the kiwi, as these dogs have not been trained to avoid birds.

"Only avian avoidance trained, permitted dogs are allowed in the park and they must be under the control of their owner at all times.

"This means that the park’s kiwi are at even greater risk than they would be otherwise from a free roaming dog," he says.

The dogs have been roaming the forest park for almost two weeks now which means they could have covered considerable ground.

"It is disappointing that DOC finds itself in this situation. Especially as DOC staff and volunteers have done extensive work over the years on cat and mustelid trapping to try and protect the kiwi in this area. These two dogs could undo the considerable amount of work people have done," says Rod Hansen.

DOC Napier-Auhuriri Acting Operations Manager Moana Smith-Dunlop says dogs not under control can kill kiwi really easily.

"These birds are very fragile, it doesn’t take much of a bite or a dog mouthing them, to kill them. That is why people must be mindful that if they do take a permitted dog into the Kaweka Forest park they are entering kiwi territory," she says.

DOC is now working with the owner to recover these animals urgently.

If anybody sights the dogs and has the opportunity to capture them safely, DOC asks that they please do so and let the Department’s Napier-Ahuriri office know.

DOC also asks that any sightings of the dogs be reported by phoning 0800 DOC-HOT.

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