‘It’s heartbreaking’ – wild dogs mutilate second kiwi in Hawke’s Bay
Peter Drury / Stuff
A second kiwi was mutilated by wild dogs in Hawke’s Bay, according to the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust (file photo).
A second kiwi was killed in a forest park in Hawke’s Bay by two feral dogs.
The attack follows another dog-related attack of a watched kiwi in Kaweka Forest Park in May this year.
The area of the recent attack occurred in the native Maungataniwha Forest in June, which is owned by the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust and is home to one of the country’s kiwifruit conservation programs.
The trust’s Maungataniwha kiwifruit program was looking to bring back more than 50 young birds to the forest this season, but the trust said the effort could be “completely wiped out” by the damage from the attack.
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The two dogs, who had reportedly been wild for at least six months, killed a young female kiwi called Orotika, in the forest south of Te Urewera. The trust said it was possible that other kiwis were also killed by the dogs, as not all birds were microchipped.
Orotika comes from an egg recovered in 2017 as part of the national kiwifruit conservation initiative Operation Nest Egg, and was released in the native Maungataniwha forest in February 2018.
Maungataniwha’s two dogs were spotted by Trust staff member Barry Crene and matched the description of dogs seen in Whirinaki Forest Park, about 30 kilometers away, late last year.
“If these are the same mutts, then they’ve been killing and maiming our native wildlife for at least six months, possibly even longer,” said Trust’s forest manager Pete Shaw.
“God knows what havoc and carnage they have caused and how much they have set back kiwi conservation efforts in this region.
“They have been wandering in the land of kiwis for six months or more. It is quite possible that they killed more birds than we brought back. It’s heartbreaking ”.
The trust demanded that all hunting dogs be microchipped and trained against aversion to the kiwi.
“Taking unchipped and untrained dogs into the bush should be as socially unacceptable as drunk driving.”
The mutilated kiwifruit was found in an area where there were many microchipped kiwis from the trust. Shaw said tagged kiwifruit made up only a small proportion of the birds that live in the area.
Environmentalists believed the area now had a “self-sustaining kiwi population base” after the success of the Maungataniwha Kiwi program.