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Missing kiwi causes concern

Missing kiwi causes concern

For immediate release: Friday 14 December 2007

Whakatane Kiwi Project staff are worriedabout the fate of a 10 month old kiwi, after its transmitter and harness were found cut off the bird.

The transmitter and harness were found on November 29 in the crown of a ponga tree, however the bird, which is normally located in Ohope Scenic Reserve, has not been seen since.The kiwi had been released into the reserve in June this year through the Bank of New Zealand Operation Nest Egg™ programme.

Whakatane Kiwi Project Manager, Tansy Bliss said there’s real uneaseabout what has happened to the kiwi and she is after any additional information the public may have about the circumstances in which the transmitter and the bird parted company.

“Having someone tamper with endangered wildlife is incredibly disappointing. We’re really concerned about the kiwi and worry that the bird could have been caught alive and removed from the Reserve. It could have died in an illegal leg hold trap as has previously happened in Ohope Scenic Reserve, or been killed by a dog that should not have been in the kiwi zone. What is known is that the transmitter was cut off the bird and left somewhere it could be located.”

The police are aware of the incident which happened where the Burma Road passes through the Reserve, and if anyone has more information which they feel could be useful,they can contact the Department of Conservation or the local police.

“While we don’t know what’s happened in this instance, it’s timely to remind people that there are kiwi aversion training courses that they can take their dogs to. It’s also important to keep dogs on a leash – all it takes is for them to get out of sight for a couple of minutes, and a kiwi’s life can be put in danger.”

Simon Stokes, newly appointed Manager of Land Resources for the Eastern area at Environment Bay of Plenty, is also very concerned.

“The greater Whakatane community are very proud and enthusiastic about this project,” he says. “They will be upset that this has happened. It takes an incredible amount of energy, time, and money, to raise and release a kiwi, and Tansy and Michelle do a superb job.

“Please respect the project. There are very few places in New Zealand where you have, kiwi, bush, and birdsong, on your doorstep like we do here.”

The Whakatane Kiwi Project is a partnership involving Environment Bay of Plenty, Department of Conservation, the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, Whakatane District Council, Ngati Awa and private landowners.

ENDS


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