Dogs on loose — kiwi at risk

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - Ge­or­gia May ge­or­gia.may@hbto­ If walk­ers catch sight of the dogs or catch them, DOC asks to be no­ti­fied im­me­di­ately. Any sight­ings should be re­ported, ph 0800 DOC-HOT.

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 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 said he was ex­tremely con­cerned for the wel­fare of the kiwi, as the dogs had not been trained to avoid birds.

“Only avian avoid­ance­trained, 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 said.

The dogs had been roam­ing the for­est park for al­most two weeks now and 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 to pro­tect the kiwi in this area. These two dogs could undo the con­sid­er­able amount of work peo­ple have done.”

DOC Napier-Ahuriri act­ing op­er­a­tions man­ager Moana Smith-Dun­lop said kiwi were an ex­tremely easy target for un­con­trolled dogs.

“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.”

DOC was work­ing closely with the owner to ur­gently re­cover the dogs.

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