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ARC prosecutes Great Barrier ferret walkers

May 17, 2002

The Auckland Regional Council will prosecute the people caught walking their pet ferrets on a Great Barrier Island Beach in January.

The Hauraki Gulf is a controlled area under the Biosecurity Act and it is an offence to take any animal pest, such as ferrets, possums, stoats or weasels, into the Gulf. The offence carries a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chairman Bill Burrill says the Committee was unanimous in this week’s decision to prosecute.

“The Hauraki Gulf Islands are home to many special or rare native species. We take any action which poses a threat to these species very seriously indeed,” Cr Burrill says. “The actions of these people were quite irresponsible.”

“Ferrets and other mustelids are carnivorous predators. They have the potential to wipe out native species and this has been recognised by recent Government moves to ban them as pets.”

The incident in question came to light when a visitor to Great Barrier Island reported seeing a family walking three pet ferrets along Smokehouse Bay beach on January 12 this year.

ARC Biosecurity officers have since investigated the incident thoroughly and their report prompted the Committee to initiate prosecution.

ENDS

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