Anyone with information about a kereru found shot on the side of the road in North Otago last week is being urged to contact the Department of Conservation.

The protected bird is in the care of Project Kereru in Dunedin, where it was referred after treatment at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital.

It was found in the Herbert forest, Waianakarua, near the camping ground, unable to fly.

The native wood pigeon was taken to the wildlife hospital and an X-ray showed a bullet lodged in its shoulder.


Wildlife hospital director Steve Walker said on Friday the hospital team had given the bird a ''guarded'' prognosis.

''Unfortunately they are unsure at this stage as to whether the bird will be able to fly again.

An X-ray showing the bullet (circled) inside the bird. Photo / Supplied
An X-ray showing the bullet (circled) inside the bird. Photo / Supplied

''It is always distressing to see any of our native wildlife admitted to the hospital as a result of the reckless actions of a small minority of people. I'm sure the wider public will share our immense disappointment that this incident has occurred.''

On its Facebook page the Wildlife Hospital posted that the case was ''infuriating and disappointing''.

''This beautiful, innocent kereru was shot by some heartless person and left to suffer and die slowly. We cannot understand who or why someone would want to injure our gorgeous wildlife.''

Nik Hurring, of Project Kereru, said yesterday it was still not known if the injured bird would fly again.

Both the Wildlife Hospital and Project Kereru urged anyone with information to call Doc's 24-hour hotline 0800 DOC HOT.

The kereru was recently named the Bird of the Year.

They are protected under the Wildlife Act and it is an offence to hunt or kill them.

Offenders could face up to two years' jail, a fine up to $100,000 or both.