Join the dawn chorus this weekend and learn how to protect our endangered kiwi and kokako

By Cindy McQuade

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A native kokako. Photo/File
A native kokako. Photo/File

This weekend there is the chance for locals to get out and make our environment healthier.

Two Conservation Week activities are planned enabling people to either learn more, or access training.

Early risers have the chance to get up before the birds when a Kokako Dawn Chorus Field Trip takes place on Sunday morning.

The trip is to the Mokaihaha Ecological Area, home to the Kokako, the "at risk" star of our $50 note.

The Department of Conservation has successfully completed a large-scale pest control operation in this area, resulting in a drastic reduction of possum and rat numbers.

"We are very lucky to have this rare bird in our region and the Bay of Plenty is quite a stronghold for the bird," said DOC community engagement officer Caraline Abbott.

Early morning is the best way to hear the bird's unusual and haunting song.

Remnant kokako populations are confined to a few scattered forests in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Te Urewera National Park.

To book a place on the field trip email cnoble@doc.govt.nz.

If you want to have a lie-in and let your pet do all the work, take your dog along to the Agrodome on Sunday for Kiwi Aversion Training. All dogs can take the training, but it is most important for hunting dogs.

"Kiwi are extremely easily crushed by a dog. They don't have a sternum (breastbone), so their rib cage is very vulnerable. A dog can kill a kiwi by picking it up gently in its mouth, or by giving it a playful push with its muzzle. Even a dog that sits on the sofa all day could kill a kiwi," said Ms Abbott.

The training only takes 10 minutes per dog, and bookings are required to secure a place. $20 per dog, payable on the day.

Email Caraline Abbott at cabbott@doc.govt.nz to book.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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