Weka loose in Christchurch Art Centre precinct
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe Department of Conservation has been fielding calls this week from members of the public sighting weka in central Christchurch.
Date: 26 March 2010
Where does a thirsty weka from the West Coast go to for a drink in central Christchurch - the Dux de Lux of course!
The Department of Conservation has been fielding calls this week from members of the public sighting weka in central Christchurch. Yesterday they were successful in catching a weka at the Dux de Lux, with help from brewer Pauly Rutledge and chef Lindsay Gallager.
But they were shocked today to get another call of a second weka found in a backyard only a few blocks away.
“We thought it was only one bird, now its two - it makes us ask how many more are there,” said ranger Anita Spencer.
Ranger Anita Spencer on the hunt for
weka loose in a central city garden
“West Coast weka are quite different to those found on the eastern parts of the South Island. Someone has bought these birds from the coast and released them - possibly into the Botanical Gardens - and who knows for what reason.
“But it’s a pretty cruel thing to do. There are dogs and cars everywhere downtown, these birds must be pretty stressed out.”
The bird captured yesterday was immediately trucked back to the West Coast by DOC staff who happened to be visiting Christchurch. The bird, if captured today, will be held at Orana Park until it can be transferred back home.
“We would be keen to keep hearing from the public for more sightings of weka in the city - and would like to remind whoever that is doing this that it’s no joke - this is a crime under the Wildlife Act.”
DOC Advisory Scientist Andy Grant said that the release might be part of a campaign to bring weka back to Canterbury.
“But if it is, it’s a misguided one.
“The Western weka is a different sub-species from the East Coast variety. Attempts to re-establish weka on the East Coast would be compromised if Western weka were introduced here - its like planting pohutukawa in rata country - they might look similar, but they just don’t belong,” he said.
Report any weka sightings in downtown Christchurch to 0800 DOCHOTline 0800 362 468.