Date: 15 July 2009
Unfortunately Departmental staff are still finding these precious birds dead because of dog predation, and dog owners need to take more responsibility when in areas known to have whio populations.
The latest blue duck killed was found by Outdoor Pursuit Centre staff on 1 July 2009. The bird was an adult male found on a quad track next to a small stream opposite the centre. “What was more disappointing was that both dog and boot prints were found next to carcass” said DOC Blue Duck Team Leader, Miss Alison Beath.
Massey University necropsy confirmed that a dog attack was the cause of death. As the carcass was in relatively good condition, it is believed that the bird was possibly killed over the weekend (28-29 June). The bird was at least 6 years old and was formerly a resident on the Whanganui River, but had travelled 2km up the little tributary. Last year this duck and his mate successfully raised 3 chicks.
“Unfortunately it’s not just stoats causing problems for blue ducks. The predation of blue duck by dog attacks has become a national issue. Owners are not allowed to take their dog onto conservation land unless they have a permit but in other areas there are some simple actions dog owners can take to ensure blue duck survival.” “Firstly, know where your dog is at all times and if you are out hunting, have your dog on a lead when you are close to the blue duck habitats” said Miss Beath.
Blue duck don’t have the ability to ward off either a stoat or dog attack and lets face it, dogs really don’t know any better so its up to all of us to do our little bit to keep our native birds around for future generations to see.
If you see blue duck in distress or find a carcass, please report it to the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362-468) or call in at the Whakapapa Visitor Centre.
Community Relations ranger