A Northland man recently discovered a gruesome sight as well as a sinister tale when he found a dead kiwi that had been plucked of most of its feathers.
The bird was found hanging from a fence.
Injuries on the eight-month-old, male brown kiwi were consistent with being savaged by a dog, a Massey University autopsy found.
The report describes severe "musculoskeletal trauma" in the form of deep bruising, puncture wounds and multiple rib and sternal fractures.
The pathology report also said it was clear someone had removed the bird's feathers after it died.
The carcass was found by a man who took photos of it then notified Kauri Coast Department of Conservation (DoC). A ranger collected the bird and DoC organised the necropsy
DoC would not reveal where the bird that had most of its body feathers removed had been found but said the fence fordered a forestry block.
The matter has been forwarded to DoC's investigative team.
The carcass did not have bands on its leg and was of lower age and weight than juveniles raised in "creches" then released into kiwi sanctuary areas.
The Wildlife Act (1953) makes it illegal to own any part of a protected animal without a permit, even if that animal dies of natural cause.
It is also illegal to sell any part of a protected animal, including all species of kiwi.
People are advised to keep dogs on a lead when not indoors or in a gated area, especially when entering an area known to house kiwi.