North Island Weka caught in leg-hold trap.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is disturbed about the death of two North Island weka caught by an unknown possum trapper in the Pakihi Valley, south east of Opotiki.
The two weka suffered a cruel death after being caught in possum leg-hold traps that were set on the ground and left unchecked, in breach of the conditions of possum permits says Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager, Andy Bassett.
“These conditions are in place to protect kiwi and weka. DOC staff advise possum trappers when they get their trapping permit the areas where they are required to raise traps off the ground.”
“The fact that permit conditions were ignored with traps set on the ground is bad enough but leaving them unchecked for several days is completely unacceptable” says Mr Bassett.
DOC is working to assist the recovery of North Island Weka, a protected species classified as Nationally Vulnerable. Weka were once widespread throughout the North Island, but are now restricted to the Motu, Toatoa, Pakihi/Opotiki areas where a few thousand survive. Although the population is currently increasing, the overall trend over time has been one of significant decline.
Mr Bassett says “it is pleasing to see weka starting to appear in Opotiki back-yards where the public can appreciate this sight.”
The public are asked to contact the local DOC office or DOC Hotline (0800 362468) if they have any information about who may have been responsible for the traps set in the Pakihi Valley that resulted in the weka deaths. All information will be treated confidentially.