Small shock to protect our national bird

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Kiwi aversion training for dogs is being run during Conservation Week.  Photo/Supplied
Kiwi aversion training for dogs is being run during Conservation Week. Photo/Supplied

Dogs and their owners are being invited to participate in kiwi aversion training being run during Conservation Week.

In a statement Department of Conservation (DOC) said that training would be delivered by qualified aversion specialist Guus Knoopers, and used a small electric shock to deter dogs from reacting to a kiwi scented lure.

"Hunting dogs are most likely to travel to places where kiwi are found but even pet dogs can wreak havoc" said Department of Conservation ranger Caraline Abbott.

"Within a year of the initial training, dogs are invited back to test for learned avoidance. If it shows an interest in the lure, it's re-trained and invited back for testing next year. It can take multiple training sessions before a dog consistently demonstrates kiwi avoidance."

Kiwi aversion training is run annually by DOC during Conservation Week which this year runs September 10-18. Volunteers from Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter are facilitating the day which will be held at Agrodome on Western Road, Ngongotaha.

Kiwi Encounter's Claire Travers said Kiwi were very fragile birds and even the friendliest of dog could unintentionally injure the them. "

"They don't have a strong "keel bone in their breast" as other birds do, so even a small nudge can have devastating effects".

"It take ten minutes to test and train a dog and $20 is a small price to pay to prevent your dogs from killing our country's iconic birds," she said.

Dog owners wanting to register can email rotorua@doc.govt.nz with their preferred booking time between 9.00am and 4.30pm. $20 per dog is required to cover the cost of the facilitator.

Donations to the Kiwi Trust can be made on the day.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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