The Department of Conservation(DOC) recovered eight kiwi killed by dogs – in a 10 week period between May 22 and August 3 – east of Kerikeri.
The kiwi deaths have been under investigation by DOC rangers and Far North District Council (FNDC) animal control officers. They’ve carried out extensive inquiries in the Wharau Road and Kerikeri Inlet Road area.
“We’ve been patrolling the area looking for uncontrolled dogs and have gone door-to- door speaking to dog owners,” says DOC Senior Ranger Adrian Walker.
DNA material was collected from three of the dead kiwi. DNA material could not be collected from the other five kiwi because they’d been dead too long before their bodies were discovered.
“As a result of our inquiries we also took skin and fur samples from four dogs. This was to see if their DNA matched dog saliva found on the three dead kiwi we were able to get DNA material from, ”says Adrian Walker.
“The outcome of our investigation is that three dogs have been euthanised. The three owners of the dogs have co-operated fully with the investigation and each agreed to have their dog put down. ”
“Plus, the Far North District Council has fined two of the dog owners $200 each. This is for failing to keep their dogs under control, as required by the Dog Control Act,” says Adrian Walker.
Far North District Council Senior Animal Control Officer Ken Thomas says his officers are continuing to patrol the Wharau Road and Kerikeri Inlet Road area looking for uncontrolled dogs.
“If these officers see any uncontrolled dogs in the open, or on someone’s property, they will remove the dog and issue the owner with an instant $200 fine,” says Ken Thomas.
“Uncontrolled dogs are a major risk to kiwi living in this area. We will not stand by while irresponsible owners allow their dogs to kill kiwi,” says Ken Thomas.
“DOC thanks the FNDC for their fantastic support in helping us protect our kiwi,” says Adrian Walker.
“Dogs are the number one killer of kiwi in Northland. Any dog can kill kiwi, anywhere, any time. Don’t let this happen. Keep your dog under control at all times,” says Adrian Walker.
Michelle Impey, Executive Director of Kiwis for kiwi, the national charity that supports community-led kiwi conservation projects says dog attacks on kiwi are extremely frustrating as they’re totally preventable.
“All across New Zealand we’re fighting a battle in the bush, trying to knock down stoats and other predators so that kiwi have a good chance of survival. An uncontrolled dog undoes all that good work,” says Michelle Impey.
“The solution is in our hands, dog owners have to control their dogs in areas where kiwi live. Or even better, keep their dogs out of kiwi zones,” says Michelle Impey.
DOC and FNDC encourage the community to protect their kiwi populations by taking action:
- If you see a wandering dog, follow the dog home and speak to the owner, or secure the dog – if it is safe to do so – and call FNDC Animal Control on 09 401 5200 or a 24 hour service line 0800 920 029. An animal control officer will be dispatched to pick up the dog.
- Talk to your neighbours and put together a plan on how you can ensure your dogs don’t kill kiwi