Introduction

High possum fur prices have led to an increase in recreational trappers. This is great news for protection of our native forests. On the flip side, leg hold traps set on the ground in kiwi areas can catch kiwi.

kiwi with damaged leg after being caught in ground set leghold trap
Damage caused by ground set leghold trap

Correctly set possum leghold trap in kiwi area
Correctly set leghold trap in kiwi area

High possum fur prices have led to an increase in recreational trappers. This is great news for protection of our native forests. On the flip side, leg hold traps set on the ground in kiwi areas can catch kiwi.

‘Leg hold traps are a great way to keep the fur warm for plucking, but in areas where kiwi are present the trap should be set at least 70cm above ground level,’ says Bridget Baynes, Department of Conservations (DOC) Biodiversity Assets Programme Manager.

Kiwi are abundant in Coromandel forests with an estimated population of over 1000 individuals. By nature a curious bird, the kiwi will investigate any new things in their territory, including leg hold traps. Recently a fully grown male kiwi was caught in a leg hold trap north of Colville, suffering a broken leg.

Miss Baynes said, ‘It is disappointing to see kiwi injured or killed unnecessarily in poorly set up possum traps. Leaning boards or logs can be used with bait to encourage possums into above-ground traps, saving kiwi from being caught.’

DOC has access to specialised veterinary care, focusing on injured native species. If you accidently catch a kiwi in a trap, please contact your local DOC office so the kiwi can receive immediate attention.

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