Date: 19 May 2009
Hunters are being reminded to be vigilant with their dogs and ensure that they have permits before taking them hunting in the Whanganui National Park.
Recent attacks on stock and wildlife in the area have prompted a call to hunters with dogs to be aware of the regulations around dogs in the national park. Dogs are not permitted in the park unless by permit for hunting only.
These attacks have caused concern for DOC staff who say that roaming dogs are making a significant dent in kiwi populations. Kiwi have a very strong scent which dogs find hard to resist. They are often a prime target for lost and hungry hunting dogs.
North Island brown kiwi killed by a dog
Dogs are having a huge impact on an already declining kiwi population. In the Northland in 2007 a single lost dog slaughtered over 500 kiwi. Dogs can have a devastating effect on national kiwi populations.
The Whanganui National Park is a stronghold for the largest population of kiwi in the North Island. DOC protects that population in its natural habitat by controlling stoat and rat numbers through the Kia Wharite project and by monitoring other predators.
A recent kiwi survey completed by DOC in the park showed strong kiwi numbers in some areas. Dogs are likely to be affecting those numbers and this is a real concern for DOC.
Hunters need to take responsibility for their dogs. If dogs are lost, DOC need to be contacted otherwise roaming dogs will be destroyed on sight. There are dog traps and cages available to place into areas where missing dogs may be. Local dog control authorities should be called if dogs are found.
Permits are required when taking dogs onto land managed by DOC. Permits are only issued for the use of hunting dogs and can be obtained from the Whanganui Area Office. Dog owners are also encouraged to take advantage of kiwi aversion courses when they are available. There will be two of these training courses being held in the area through the month of June. For further information on hunting permits or kiwi aversion training call the Whanganui Area Office.
What can you do to help?
- Help by discouraging those who take dogs into the bush
- Take advantage of kiwi aversion training courses
- Let your friends, neighbours and visitors know why we don’t want dogs in the national park
Connie Norgate, Community Relations Manager
Rod Smillie, Biodiversity Threats Manager