Date: 01 October 2012
Keeping dogs under control is the way to go for kiwi in Northland. For a while now control of dogs has been a focus as the Department of Conservation (DOC) moves from individual bird management to dog management.
Rolf Fuchs, DOC Kiwi Ranger, removes a transmitter from a wild kiwi south of Whangarei
For DOC Kiwi Ranger Rolf Fuchs along with other kiwi workers this means the ongoing removal of transmitters from birds.
Plenty of kiwi family stories have developed over the past fifteen years with around 160 birds at any one time tracked via transmitters. Regular checks on birds together with long term predator control has brought about good solid information on how to maintain kiwi numbers.
This research tells us that dogs have a profound impact because they take out breeding birds. The findings have prompted the shift to dog management.
"Ensuring all dog owners have an understanding of the significance uncontrolled dogs can have in particular, on the adult kiwi population, is vital" says Mr Fuchs, who is working hard to promote the issue in communities. He says, “Some communities are doing really well, whilst others have room for improvement.”
Regular trapping for kiwi predators is carried out in some areas to prevent chicks being killed by stoats and cats. Add an uncontrolled dog to the mix in and around these sites, and irreversible damage will result, with lifestyle bock owners in particular a key source of dogs effecting kiwi.
In Whangarei, the trapped sites are largely spread between Tutukaka, Whangaruru, Whangarei Heads and into the bush blocks Northwest of Whangarei city. However, kiwi are not exclusive to big bush areas and are spread over the region. Kiwi can do well in pine blocks, regenerating scrub, and rank grass.
The dog issue is the most important factor to address to ensure the kiwi's future and keeping your dog under control is vital.