The Department of Conservation has yet to make a public call for the owner of a dog responsible for killing an endangered dotterel near the Ruakākā Wildlife Sanctuary.
A male New Zealand dotterel was discovered on Ruakākā Beach early on November 1 by Greg Stansfield who popped him on the sand dunes nearby and informed fellow conservationist Ria Kent.
The bird was alive but he could not get up and was unable to turn around. It was taken to the Whangārei Native Bird Recovery Centre but died the same day.
Centre manager Robert Webb said DoC, which managed the refuge, should hire someone to patrol the protected areas and to start fining irresponsible dog owners.
But DoC spokeswoman Abi Monteith said because there were no witnesses, and the bird was recovered before DNA swabs could be taken, there was a very slim chance the dog owner would be identified unless they came forward.
DoC was doing a signage check to ensure there was nothing more that could be done on that front, she said.
"We have not made a public call for the dog owner to come forward at this stage. We have started our second year of our targeted educational / enforcement campaign in the wider Bream Bay area.
"The campaign is focused on vehicle access to the dune, but provides DoC with an increased presence in the area and we anticipate a 'halo' effect towards the reduction of other recreational activities that occur within the wider area," Monteith said.
Waipū Government Purpose Wildlife Refuge Reserve, Uretiti Scenic Reserve, Ruakākā Scenic Reserve, and Poupouwhenua Scenic Reserve are located within Bream Bay.
Once widespread across New Zealand, the dotterel is a small shorebird now considered endangered, with an estimated population of about 2000 individuals.
There are two widely separated subspecies— the northern New Zealand dotterel is more numerous, and breeds around the North Island while the southern New Zealand dotterel was formerly widespread in the South Island, and now breeds only on Stewart Island.
Their breeding season is between October and December.
The bylaws give DoC staff the ability to warn, and where necessary, take enforcement proceedings which may result in a maximum fine of $250 for people who breach the bylaws.
The Ruakākā Wildlife Refuge has bylaws designed to control such things as drunken and disorderly behaviour; unruly meetings and gatherings; unauthorised camping, vehicle use, noise, lighting of fires; water wastage and bringing domestic animals on to reserves without authorisation.
There are fulltime rangers to protect fairy terns that were in the same area as the dotterels.