A kiwi-zone sign at the junction of Wharengaere Rd and Hansen Rd, where dead kiwi were found in February 2018 and again last month. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The carcasses of two kiwi killed in the Bay of Islands are being analysed to find out whether the deaths were due to dog attacks.
The protected birds were found in the Hansen Rd area, on the Purerua Peninsula north of Kerikeri, around July 21 and handed over to the Department of Conservation’s (DoC) Bay of Islands office.
Senior biodiversity ranger Adrian Walker said the cause of death of the adult kiwi was unclear, so they were undergoing post-mortem examinations.
“It is not certain that dogs are involved and DoC is investigating this, working closely with the Far North District Council’s animal control team and landowners in the area.”
DoC would provide further information once the post-mortem findings were known. The deaths were reported to the Far North District Council on January 26.
FNDC environmental services manager Rochelle Deane said an animal management officer subsequently visited the property, accompanied by a DoC ranger, to investigate a report of kiwi being killed by a dog or dogs.
“Unfortunately, there were no witnesses to identify the dog or dogs involved. A dog owner has been spoken to and was co-operative with staff. The owner was told to register their dogs and to keep them secure on their property. Notices to that effect were issued by the council to the dog owner.”
Deane said DoC would analyse the kiwi carcasses to assess whether dogs at the property could be linked to the deaths.
If DoC believed the dogs were responsible, it would initiate its own proceedings against the owner, she said.
If it turns out the deaths were indeed the result of dog attacks, it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened on Hansen Rd.
In February 2018, Hansen Rd residents found five dead kiwi over a period of a few days. One more was found by a DoC ranger in the same area.
Experts at Massey University found the birds’ injuries were caused by dog predation.
A Massey University pathology report found the dead kiwi — three females and two males, weighing 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms — had been in good condition prior to the attack. The sixth kiwi was not examined because it was too decomposed.
The six deaths were the most in one spate since at least eight kiwi were killed by dogs in the Wharau Rd area near Kerikeri in 2015.
Landowners on Purerua Peninsula are currently engaged in a major pest control operation.
A kiwi call survey in 2022 found the peninsula had the highest recorded density of kiwi in New Zealand.
More than five calls an hour qualifies an area as a high-density kiwi site. Mataka Station, on Purerua Peninsula, recorded 217 calls in a two-hour period.