22 Jul 2021

Kiwi killed by dog, thrown down bank in Taranaki conservation area

2:28 pm on 22 July 2021

A kiwi bird has been killed by a dog on conservation land in Taranaki.

The North Island brown kiwi, Apteryx mantelli.

File photo. Photo: 123rf

The female North Island brown kiwi was found with bite marks along its body in the Pouiatoa Conservation Area in North Taranaki.

Dog owners have to put their animals through kiwi aversion training and get a permit before entering conservation land.

Charges can also be filed against owners if there is evidence dogs have killed kiwi, with a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine or up to three years in jail, and an order for the dogs to be destroyed.

Off-duty Department of Conservation (DOC) Biodiversity Ranger Joe Carson found a pile of kiwi feathers while following dog and boot prints along a track. The bird had been thrown down a bank.

"It's just so disappointing to see a large egg carrying female taken out of the population. In the wild, kiwi only have a 5 percent chance of survival to adulthood. This big, beautiful female bird had beaten the odds and survived only to be taken out by a dog. It's an entirely avoidable death," DOC said.

Experience Pūrangi conservation manager Kat Strang said losing an adult breeding kiwi set the population back.

"That female could have produced four chicks this year, and again next year, and so on, but we've lost that from this population now. Our team works hard trying to remove invasive predators from the habitat so our kiwi have a fighting chance, and to lose a kiwi in a way that could have been easily prevented, is incredibly disappointing and one that hits hard".

Dog owners can be fined up to $800 or prosecuted for taking dogs into a no-access area, or take unpermitted dogs into the Pouiatoa Conservation Area. No dogs are allowed in Egmont National Park.

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