A young weka losing its foot has prompted a reminder that leg-hold traps should be raised off the ground.

Date:  05 March 2018

A young weka losing its foot in a leg-hold trap in the Marlborough Sounds has prompted a Department of Conservation reminder that leg-hold traps should be raised off the ground in areas where there are weka.

Weka with injured leg, being held.
The injured weka

A member of the public found the weka with its lower leg virtually severed in the leg-hold trap near Havelock. The weka was treated by a vet and was cared for by DOC staff before being released back into the wild at the weekend.

DOC Sounds senior biodiversity ranger Phil Clerke said leg-hold traps should be set at least 700 mm off the ground to prevent weka getting caught in them.

“Weka are common in the Marlborough Sounds so leg-hold traps should always be raised off the ground in this area or in other places where there are weka and other ground-dwelling native birds.”

Catching weka in leg-hold traps due to not following correct procedures for their use can constitute an offence under the Wildlife Act 1953 of hunting absolutely protected wildlife.

“Weka often die from getting caught in leg-hold traps but this weka fortunately is still actively moving around on its remaining foot and leg stump,” said Phil.

“Weka have survived in the wild with part of a leg missing and given this weka’s liveliness we expect it will do OK. But it’s a shame the weka now has to go through life with one foot missing when it was avoidable.” 


Phil Clerke, Senior Biodiversity Ranger
Phone: +64 3 520 3002

For media enquiries contact:

Trish Grant, DOC Communications Advisor
Mobile: +64 27 556 1859

Back to top