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Dismay at Kereru killings


DISMAY AT KERERU KILLINGS

Conservation Minister, Chris Carter, has expressed dismay at the discovery of two more dead kereru near Upper Hutt today.

14 of the protected birds have been found dead at Kaitoke Regional Park in the past week, all apparently shot. The deaths are being investigated and autopsies are being carried out on the birds to confirm their cause of death.

Mr Carter says the kereru are protected under the Wildlife Act and anyone convicted of taking them can be imprisoned for up to six months or fined up to $100,000, plus further fines of up to $5000 for each bird.

“These birds are a national taonga and it’s unbelievable that somebody would be senseless enough to try to undo all the effort that has gone into protecting and increasing the number of kereru in our native forests” he says.

“The needless killings have greatly upset the people of Upper Hutt who have thrown their weight behind efforts to increase kereru numbers. I know that it’s also a real blow for local Maori who treasure the birds and have been really supportive of the Department of Conservation’s work in kereru conservation. ”

Mr Carter says the Upper Hutt community has been actively involved in pest control, forest restoration and the care of wildlife.

Kereru are important for forest regeneration as they are the only seed disperser with a beak large enough to wrap around and swallow large berries such as miro, karaka, taraire and tawa. Kereru numbers in the Wellington region had been growing because of pest control work and forest restoration projects.

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