Kawau Island resident found guilty of owning a dog that killed 14 weka
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionAt a jury trial at the Auckland District Court, a Kawau Island resident was found guilty of being the owner of a dog that killed 14 endangered weka at the Kawau Island Historic Reserve.
Date: 11 September 2010
At a jury trial at the Auckland District Court yesterday, a Kawau Island resident was found guilty of being the owner of a dog that killed 14 endangered weka at the Kawau Island Historic Reserve in May last year.
He also plead guilty to two charges of allowing his two dogs to enter the Kawau Island Historic Reserve — a Controlled Dog Area under the Conservation Act — in May last year, and was found guilty on a further two charges of allowing his dogs to enter the same reserve a month earlier.
Rory Renwick, Warkworth biodiversity manager for the Department of Conservation (DOC), says it is important dog owners realise the consequences to endangered wildlife of not having their dog under control, and that they can be prosecuted.
“Sadly this event demonstrates the large amount of damage to endangered wildlife even one dog can do if allowed to roam on conservation land,” he says.
“This is a strong message to dog owners that DOC can and will prosecute when a dog strays onto a gazetted area prohibited to dogs,” he says.
Dogs are not permitted in any of DOC’s Kawau Island reserves, which make up about 10 per cent of the island. The rest of the island is privately owned.
“There are about 60 residents on Kawau Island and many are responsible dog owners who recognise the importance of keeping dogs out of reserves. Even outside of the dog control areas, dog owners need to ensure their dogs are under control at all times,” says Mr Renwick.
“This practically means within a fenced section or on a lead. No matter how well trained and looked after a dog is, most retain natural instincts to hunt and can kill native wildlife. For this reason dogs are not permitted anywhere on island conservation reserves in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.”
Kawau Island is home to over a third of New Zealand’s North Island weka population. North Island brown kiwi are also found on the island, and both species are vulnerable to dog attacks.
North Island weka
The North Island weka is a nationally endangered sub-species. Over the past 25 years, numbers have fallen from 100,000 to less than 10,000. The cause of the decline of this once widespread bird is largely unknown, but predation by dogs, ferrets, cats and stoats, as well as disease and drought are considered to be major contributors.
Hauraki Gulf Island Restorations
DOC is working with community trusts on a number of ambitious island restoration programmes around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The islands provide a safe haven for many of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered species and offer unique opportunities for people to experience our native wildlife.
Amy Cameron, Media officer
Ph: +64 9 307 4846 or 0275 111 222