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Duck shooters target native kiwi icon

5 May 2006

Duck shooters target native kiwi icon

An estimated 50,000 pukekos will fall victim to gun-wielding duck shooters during the three-month duck shooting season that begins this Saturday. National animal advocacy organisation SAFE says killing pukekos is senseless and calls upon the Department of Conservation (DoC) to protect pukekos under upcoming amendments to the Wildlife Act.

"The duck shooting season heralds the mass slaughter of ducks, geese and swan but few people realise duck shooters also set their sights on pukeko. Not only do we deprive pukekos of their natural habitat through reclamation and drainage of wetlands, duck shooters add injury to insult by killing these magnificent birds solely for fun," says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

Unlike ducks and swans, pukeko are seldom eaten nor are they considered a significant pest species. SAFE questions why duck shooters are permitted to kill one of New Zealand's most beautiful and iconic native birds.

"Pukeko are a popular New Zealand icon used by the tourism industry. Duck shooters simply shoot these majestic birds for fun and leave their bodies to rot where they fall. This senseless killing of our native wildlife is abhorrent and must be stopped", says Mr Kriek.

SAFE is demanding that DoC amend the Wildlife Act to provide pukeko with the absolute protection afforded to most other native species.

"We believe there will be widespread support from New Zealanders for the protection of pukeko. Most people will be outraged to discover that DoC has allowed this native species to be massacred for over 40 years."

SAFE will demonstrate against the slaughter of pukekos by erecting a pukeko Œgrave' outside DoC's Christchurch office on Victoria Street at 7am on Friday, followed by a roadside protest on Dyers Road in an area heavily populated by wild pukeko to inform passing motorists of the impending mass slaughter.

ENDS

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