A male North Island brown kiwi found dead on Mount Taranaki’s Puniho Track is believed to have been killed in a dog attack.
DOC Taranaki Operations Manager Gareth Hopkins discovered the male adult kiwi wedged between rocks while out hiking last week.
An autopsy found the bird suffered multiple fractured ribs and femur, along with a broken spine. Vets found the fatal injuries were consistent with a dog attack.
Gareth Hopkins says it’s always sad to find a dead kiwi, particularly when its death was completely avoidable: “Dogs are not allowed in Egmont National Park for this very reason – they are a significant risk to wildlife we’re protecting in the park.”
Taranaki Mounga Project Co-Project Manager Sean Zieltjes says the kiwi had no transmitter so was born on the maunga and likely had offspring in the area.
“In the wild, kiwi have only a five percent chance of survival to adulthood. It’s so disappointing to see this healthy adult kiwi killed.”
Representatives from Taranaki Iwi hapū, Ngā Mahanga, had named the kiwi Tohu.
An adult male kiwi can breed for up to 40 years, and potentially father more than 50 chicks – so this kiwi’s death has ramifications for the species population in the national park.
Charges can be filed against owners if there is evidence their dogs have killed kiwi, with a maximum penalty of $100,000 under the National Parks Act.
Members of the public can report sightings of dogs in the national park by calling 0800 DOC HOT, and in doing so, should share as many details as possible on what they have seen.
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