Another Kerikeri kiwi has been killed by dogs, ironically during Save Kiwi Month and just after the announcement of a government plan to boost kiwi numbers to 100,000 by the year 2030.
Peter Nash was checking his paddocks on Puketotara Rd on Saturday when he was "absolutely gutted" to discover a dead kiwi. He took it to a Department of Conservation ranger who confirmed it had been killed by dog bites to the head and rear, and identified it as a juvenile male.
Mr Nash believed the dead kiwi was one of two pairs that lived on his property and which he heard calling almost every night.
Coincidentally - or possibly not - the killing occurred around the same time as stray dogs appeared on his property for the first time in the 10 years he had lived there.
"I'd always hoped one day to hold a kiwi and be up close, but I never thought I'd hold a dead one. It still makes me feel sick thinking about it."
Mr Nash said people needed to know that kiwi lived all around them in the Bay of Islands and that roaming dogs were their greatest threat.
Last winter at least eight kiwi were mauled to death by dogs in the Wharau Rd-Kerikeri Inlet Rd area.
Three dogs were eventually identified as the culprits thanks in part to DNA testing of saliva found on the dead kiwi. Two were surrendered to council dog rangers and one was put down by its owner.
The two owners were fined $200 for failing to keep their animals under control.
The Wharau Rd maulings were the worst in the Mid-North since a single dog dumped in Waitangi Forest killed an estimated 500 kiwi in 1987.
Brad Windust, of conservation group Bay Bush Action, urged dog owners to keep their pets under control at all times, keep them out of kiwi areas, and put them through a kiwi aversion training course. Aversion training was not 100 per cent effective but worked well for some dogs. Even trained dogs should not be let loose in a kiwi zone, he said.
Earlier this month the Government announced its Kiwi Recovery Plan 2017-27, in which it aims to boost the number of kiwi living in the wild to 100,000 by the year 2030. To do that it will have to turn a 2 per cent annual decline in kiwi numbers into a 2 per cent increase.
Kiwi don't have a breast bone, which makes them particularly susceptible to a dog bite, even if the dog does not intend to cause harm.
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