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Hunters threaten wildlife sanctuaries

Hunters threaten wildlife sanctuaries

Forest and Bird today released an anonymous letter claiming that eleven possums have been deliberately released onto Kapiti Island . In recent weeks Forest and Bird has been sent three anonymous letters threatening to sabotage wildlife sanctuaries by releasing pests.

The letters appear to be from hunters disgruntled by Forest and Bird’s campaign to protect nature from the impact of pests such as possums, deer and thar. The letters have been handed to the police who are investigating the threats.

“Kapiti Island is a nature conservation jewel and how people could even think of releasing possums onto it defies belief”, says Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager. “I am sure that the vast majority of New Zealanders will be dismayed and saddened by claims that possums have been released onto this conservation icon. Thousands of volunteers hours and hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars have gone into ridding Kapiti Island of its pests so that such rare birds such as little spotted kiwi, saddleback and takahe can flourish”.

One of the letters from a group calling themselves the Biodiversity Action Group threatens to release pests in wildlife sanctuaries if Forest and Bird did not reconsider its position on thar. The group claims to have already spread thar, wallabies and fallow deer around New Zealand .

“Many New Zealanders have worked hard to rid sanctuaries of pests. We are saddened that a group wants to put all that work at risk and threaten our natural heritage”, say Mr Pyle.

“Clearly there is an lunatic element in the hunting fraternity that has no concern for New Zealand’s natural heritage”, says Mr Pyle. “This rogue element is even prepared to threaten kiwi, our national emblem”.

Forest and Bird calls on all responsible hunters to distance themselves from this kind of irresponsible behaviour and sort out the lunatic fringe within their ranks. “I am sure that all decent hunting folk are aghast that some of their kind would be prepared to threaten icons such as Kapiti Island and species such as our national emblem”, says Mr Pyle. “I call on leaders in the hunting fraternity to denounce these threats”.

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