Grisly beach find not uncommon says bird group
The discovery of a mutilated seabird on Pt Chevalier beach has shocked local bird lovers.
Resident Summer Secrest found the dead pied shag while walking earlier this month.
She was appalled to see the bird had suffered a deep stab wound to the abdomen.
“I noticed it had this huge, gaping wound, which to me definitely looked like a knife wound,” she says.
“I’m so angry and frustrated at the people who did this.”
Ms Secrest reported the find to Auckland’s Bird Rescue Centre, and was distressed to learn it’s not uncommon.
“It was horrible to hear that, and I thought now I’m really going to do something about it,” she says.
“Something good has to come of it, even if it’s just shedding light on a problem that no one seems to know about.”
She’s spoken to other regular beach walkers at Pt Chevalier, who have also been shocked by the find.
The Bird Rescue Centre’s Pam Howlett says the injuries to the bird Ms Secrest found were “very suspect”.
“A lot of fishermen don’t treat them very kindly at all,” she says.
Some are injured after being roughly cut free from nets or lines, but others are deliberately hurt.
“We have had birds with their beaks cut off, which have to be destroyed,” she says.
“Fortunately we don’t have too much of that, but we do see them.
“It’s something that is absolutely abhorrent.”
The pied shag, also known as a pied cormorant, is a common sight in Auckland’s harbours.
Ms Howlett says they’re a special part of the landscape, and attract bird lovers from around the world.
Members of the public should report mistreatment when they see it, she says.
“There are massive fines and punishments for people who do mistreat these birds, but no one reports it.”
Department of Conservation biodiversity manager Phil Brown says the birds have been targeted in the past, particularly by fishermen.
“But the sort of fish that we generally take, like snapper, aren’t going to be the food prey for shags anyway,” he says.
Offenders face fines of up to $5000 under the Wildlife Act.
Incidents can be reported to the SPCA, or to DOC on 0800 DOC HOT.
Shocking find: Animal-lover Summer Secrest was horrified to find a stabbed seabird on the beach at Pt Chevalier.