Hunters proposing to take dogs into Puketi and Omahuta forests now need a kiwi aversion certificate to receive a new hunting permit.
The initiative is part of the Department of Conservation’s campaign to protect adult Northland kiwi from their major threat – dogs.
Department of Conservation (DOC) spokesperson, Sara Barber-Kusanic, says Puketi and Omahuta forests need to be a much safer place for the kiwi living there.
“Kiwi aversion training is a big step towards raising awareness of the risk dogs pose to our national bird. It helps dog owners understand the issues and has an important role in teaching dogs to stay away from kiwi.”
A series of kiwi aversion training days has been held at the Puketi Forest headquarters, leading up to the 1 March requirement for certificates for new permits.
A koha is suggested for the days, which may involve dog obedience training as well as specific aversion techniques. These involve becoming accustomed to the kiwi scent, then learning to avoid it through a collar delivering a static shock.
“The shock is similar to that from an electric fence. The techniques are very effective and critical to help dogs stay away from the very compelling kiwi scent,” says Ms Barber-Kusanic.
Training is repeated in six months and once the trainer is satisfied the dog shows sufficient aversion, it graduates to an annual test.
All previously issued permits which remained current at 1 March 2010 will be honored, as they are, until their expiry.
Ms Barber-Kusanic says the certificate requirement has become a condition of new hunting permits through controlled dog area legislation, which covers Puketi and Omahuta forests. It has been in place for some time in other parts of Northland and elsewhere in New Zealand.
Kiwi aversion training days
Bay of Islands
Kiwi aversion training days are being held six monthly at the Puketi Forest Headquarters
Next session: 21 March 2010
Additional training will be considered on demand.
Pete Graham from DOC’s Whangarei Area Office also holds training days the first and last Thursday of every month. For more information contact
BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust
BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust was established in November 2002 by Bank of New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, building on a sponsorship relationship that started in 1991. BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust is responsible for public awareness and education, fundraising, sponsorship and grant allocations for kiwi recovery nationally. In 2008 alone, $1,009,315 was allocated to community and DOC kiwi projects. This money came from BNZ, its staff, customers and supporters of BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust.
BNZ Operation Nest Egg™ is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of key kiwi populations. Eggs and chicks are harvested from nests to save them from stoats and cats. The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weight about 1kg, big enough to fight off these predators. More than 1000 kiwi chicks have been returned to the wild since the programme began in 1994, with captive facilities and hundreds of field workers from DOC and community groups throughout the country contributing to its success.
The BNZ Operation Nest Egg™ egg harvesting>chick rearing>return to the wild technique was developed for kiwi through research funded solely by BNZ and is now also used in other species recovery programmes.
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