Farming company Pāmu has introduced a kiwi aversion training programme on its Northland farms where kiwi are known to be living, to ensure the birds are protected from the farms' dogs.
Following a successful pilot programme on two of those farms, Mangatoa and Kapiro, the policy has been extended to the Takou Bay Dairy Unit, Puketotara and Takakuri.
Pāmu's environment manager, Gordon Williams, said that while there could be no guarantee a dog would not attack a kiwi, regardless of the dog's breed or level of obedience, avoidance training did make a difference, and also provided an important advocacy opportunity with the dog owners.
"Kiwi are especially attractive to dogs because they have a strong, distinctive smell," Williams said.
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''And kiwi find it hard to escape a persistent dog because they are of course famously non-flying birds, which are ground-dwellers.
"These important protection policies will ensure that our iconic national bird continues to thrive within our farm operations. As our national bird, kiwi hold a special place in the hearts of all New Zealanders, and it is incumbent on those of us who work in their habitat to do everything we can to ensure their protection. This policy will do just that."
The policy had received the express endorsement of Kiwis for kiwi, the national charity that supports community- and Māori-led kiwi conservation initiatives. It was overseeing the kiwi avoidance training programme, and had endorsed Pāmu's proactive approach.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Pāmu chief executive Steve Carden about saving kiwi on The Country:
Peter Eagles, manager of Pāmu's Mangatoa farm, said the policy fitted with the company's overall approach to sustainable management of the land.
"Ko matou te kaitiaki (We are the guardians) of this land, and protecting the kiwi who also call this farm home is an integral part of that guardianship," he said.
For more information about Kiwis for Kiwi, or to find a kiwi avoidance trainer, go to www.kiwisforkiwi.org