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Bush clearance leads to DOC investigation

The clearance of several areas of native bush within Egmont National Park/Te Papa Kura-o-Taranaki has prompted a Department of Conservation investigation.

Senior Ranger Cameron Hunt says in July DOC staff became aware of several sections of cleared bush on the northwest side of the park near Pukeiti.

Working closely with NZ Police, they discovered a campsite and several clearings in the area. The clearings measured up to 10m by 10m, and a pile of rubbish was found at the campsite.

A CCTV camera set up at one of the clearings captured the picture of a man DOC is keen to identify – prompting the release of the image and a call to the public for help.

“This man’s face is clearly shown in the CCTV image and we’d like to speak to him about what’s happened here.

“We believe someone knows who he is, and we’d welcome any information which helps us identify him.”

Cameron says whoever set up the camp has gone to some trouble, taking in 200l plastic water tanks, a 44-gallon steel drum, five car batteries, a small fridge, a gas cooker and even constructing a basic platform, or floor, from ponga logs and plywood.

“This person is obviously pretty organised and quite committed to whatever they were doing.”

Anyone who can identify the man in the picture is urged to contact Cameron Hunt on 027 246 1083 or by emailing chunt@doc.govt.nz.

Under the Conservation Act, it is illegal to fell or remove trees, shrubs or plants on or from public conservation land.

It can result in a fine of up $100,000 and two years in jail. If the offending continues, further fines of $10,000 a day can be imposed.

 

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