The discovery of two kiwi mauled by dogs is a stark reminder
of the need to keep dogs under control at all times, a
Department of Conservation ranger says.
The dead kiwi were found on the Hihi Peninsula, near Mangonui
in Doubtless Bay, where a group of land owners set up the
Whakaangi Landcare Trust in 2003 to control predators,
conserve kiwi and restore native forest.
Ranger Irene Petrove said a shocked and upset Whakaangi woman
alerted DoC's Kaitaia area office to the deaths, which an
autopsy found had been caused by dogs.
The dogs were traced to a Hihi resident who was at work when
his animals slipped their collars and travelled at least 4km
to the Hihi Peninsula.
Ms Petrove said dogs could kill large numbers of kiwi in a
"Dogs are a major threat to kiwi and other wildlife. It is
the owner's responsibility to keep their dogs under control.
Control means that an owner knows where their dog is and what
it is doing at all times," she said.
Ms Petrove urged dog owners to book their pets into a kennel
when going on holiday.
"When you're out walking keep your dog on a lead and
remember, just because you have your dog tied up, doesn't
mean that it can't get free. It's your responsibility to
ensure that it doesn't," she said.
DoC Kaitaia spokeswoman Carolyn Smith said the dogs had been
picked up by a council animal control officer in the area
where the kiwi were found, and had been roaming at the time
the birds were killed.
While it was highly likely the dogs were responsible, the
owner could not be prosecuted because it could not be proven.
No one had seen the dogs attack the kiwi and the bodies were
too decomposed to get dog DNA from their feathers. Ms Smith
said uncontrolled dogs were the number one killer of kiwi in
"Over the past few years, there's been an intensive campaign
to alert people to this fact. Despite this, some people are
still choosing to not keep their dogs under control,
resulting in continued slaughter of kiwi. It's not the dogs'
fault, they're acting out of instinct.
"Remember that kiwi can be living in your hedge, in
pastureland, even in pampas and scrub on the side of the
road. And all dogs can be kiwi killers," she said.
- By Peter de Graaf of The Northern Advocate