Introduction

Three dogs have been euthanised and two dog owners have been fined as a result of an investigation into kiwi being killed by dogs near Kerikeri.

Date:  18 September 2015

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. 

Background information

Kiwis for kiwiTM is the trading name of The Kiwi Trust. Established in October 2012, it continues more than two decades of work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to help protect kiwi and the places they live. Kiwis for kiwiTM raises and distributes funds to community, DOC and volunteer groups helping save kiwi throughout the country. 

Our national icon – the kiwi – is under siege from stoats, dogs, cats, rats and loss of habitat.

Just one hundred years ago, there were more than a million kiwi roaming throughout New Zealand. Today there are less than 70,000. Without urgent action, kiwi numbers will continue to fall with the risk that they will disappear in the wild. 

Operation Nest EggTM is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of kiwi populations. Eggs and chicks are harvested from nests to save them from their number one threat - stoats. The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weight about 1kg, big enough to fight off these predators. More than 2000 kiwi chicks have been returned to the wild since its inception in 1994, with captive facilities and hundreds of field workers from DOC and community groups throughout the country contributing to its success  

Kiwis for kiwiTM works in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC) with a vision to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere. 

October is Save Kiwi Month and all New Zealanders are urged to join the fight to save our national icon. The inaugural Great Kiwi Morning Tea is being held on 16 October to raise funds to continue the work of protecting kiwi and their habitat. Kiwis for kiwi are calling for everyone to get together at school, with friends, family or at work to share a traditional Kiwi morning tea and collect donations. People wanting to host a morning tea can register on the Kiwis for kiwi website. Online donations can also be made. Every $100 raised is enough to protect a kiwi for an entire year.

Visit the Kiwis for kiwi website for more information and to find out how you can get involved.

Contacts

Nick Hirst, Media Advisor
Phone: +64 9 307 4866
Mobile: +64 27 704 7773

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