Date: 10 May 2012
The Department of Conservation has run several kiwi aversion training days in recent months to increase the awareness of the risk that hunting dogs can pose to kiwi in the wild. 322 hunting dogs have been through the kiwi aversion training program this year in the Whakatane-Murupara area.
Dogs were put through their paces by either Total Back Country Solutions Ltd or Gus Knoppers - both of whom were contracted by DOC to undertake the work with additional support from the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust. DOC rangers were on hand to talk to hunters and provide a BBQ for all who came along to the Whakatane events.
DOC ranger, Cody Thyne, said “we are encouraged by the number of hunters who continue to acknowledge that kiwi need our help and are doing their bit to reduce the risk to kiwi when hunting in areas where kiwi are present. Thank you to the Omataroa, Waimana and Tuhoe Hunting Clubs for their support and efforts to get hunters to these events. As a result 235 dogs received bird safe certificates for the year in the Whakatane-Urewera area. Without the ongoing support of the hunting clubs it is unlikely we would train as many dogs as we do at these events”.
In addition to the Whakatane events, more training was offered in Waiohou, Minginui and Murupara.
"A total of 87 dogs were run through the training, with local pig hunters and pet owners getting on board to help save the kiwi in the Whirinaki Forest Park," DOC Ranger Sarah King reported.
"With a combination of kiwi aversion training and stoat trapping the people who live in the Minginui village may once again get to hear kiwi calling in the hills from their houses,” she said.
The Department of Conservation will be running events next year in the lead up to the opening of Te Urewera National Park to hunting with dogs (1st of May until Labour weekend each year). Contact the Department of Conservation in Whakatane on +64 7 307 2784 for more details.
Cody Thyne, DOC Biodiversity Ranger,
+64 7 307 2784