Con­ser­va­tion depart­ment fu­ri­ous rare fal­con shot

Kapiti Observer - - OUT & ABOUT - DAMIAN GE­ORGE

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion is out­raged af­ter a rare fal­con was found shot dead in Nikau Valley, Para­pa­raumu.

The pro­tected New Zealand fal­con/karearea was found in a pri­vate prop­erty in Eu­ca­lyp­tus Way last Thurs­day.

DOC is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the killing and said the cul­prit faced a pun­ish­ment of up two years’ jail or a $100,000 fine.

‘‘Shoot­ing the fal­con is un­ac­cept­able, no mat­ter what the cir­cum­stances,’’ bio­di­ver­sity ranger David Moss said.

‘‘It was a di­rect hit from a low cal­i­bre weapon, such as a .22, and ap­pears to be in­ten­tional.

‘‘For some­one to shoot this bird is ap­palling. Not only is the karearea a threat­ened species, it is a sym­bol of New Zealand and graces our $20 note.’’

Karearea are the only fal­cons en­demic to New Zealand and are a top preda­tor.

With a max­i­mum speed of 100kmh, they hunt a range of large prey such as mam­mals and lizards, though other birds make up most of their diet.

That meant they were a dan­ger to do­mes­tic poul­try, doves and pi­geons.

But the birds were a sign of a healthy ecosys­tem and their pres­ence should be cel­e­brated, Moss said.

‘‘If peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence prob­lems with fal­cons at­tack­ing do­mes­tic birds, con­tact your lo­cal DOC of­fice for ad­vice, but don’t shoot them.’’

Simon and Katie Ford, who dis­cov­ered the bird, said they were dev­as­tated when they came across it in their back pad­dock.

PHOTO: BOB PAR­DOE

Res­i­dents of Metlife­care Kapiti Vil­lage shared a spe­cial AN­ZAC day com­mem­o­ra­tion break­fast yes­ter­day. Res­i­dents com­mit­tee chair­man Kert Snater and the cen­tre’s new man­ager Sheryl Tub­man wel­comed the res­i­dents. Guest speaker was Bob Norman who talked about the New Zealand re­cov­ery pro­gramme.

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