Rotorua dog owners are being invited to bring their dogs in for kiwi avoidance training, to help reduce the risk of unnecessary kiwi deaths.
Dogs have surpassed ferrets and stoats as the number one killer of kiwi in some parts of New Zealand, according to information collected by Kiwis for Kiwi.
The Department of Conservation's community team supervisor Caraline Abbott said although kiwi were rare, there had been recent recordings of kiwi caught on trail cameras within the Rotorua district.
"Hunting is a major recreational activity in Rotorua and surrounding areas and we want to enable hunters to enjoy the areas that have been set aside for hunting, but also protect the native species like kiwi that live in those ecosystems."
The training was being held on World Wildlife Day on March 3.
"Kiwi are very fragile birds so even a small bite or knock from a dog can have serious – even fatal – consequences for these birds," Abbott said.
Although the avoidance training was not a guarantee a dog would not attack a kiwi, about 90 per cent of dogs had been shown to avoid kiwi 12 months after the initial training.
Annual training was recommended to help make sure dogs continued to be averse to the scent of kiwi.
The training takes 15 minutes per dog and the facilitator charges $25 per dog. Bookings can be made by emailing email@example.com.
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