Tamahunga Trappers will push ahead with the translocation of kiwi on Mount Tamahunga in March next year, despite having to cancel a public open day due to Covid restrictions.
The open day was designed to alert dog owners to the dangers their pets pose to kiwi and encourage owners to allow their dogs to undergo kiwi aversion therapy.
Although the open day will not take place, the aversion therapy will be available on Sunday, November 7, and is free to all dog owners in the Matakana, Pakiri and Leigh area.
Trappers community liaison officer Marguerite Vanderkolk says 60 per cent of known kiwi deaths are caused by dogs.
“It’s not just feral dogs or lost hunting dogs that kill kiwi. Any dog, whatever size or breed and despite being well trained, will kill a kiwi if given the chance,” she says.
She says kiwi have a strong scent which is irresistible to dogs. Dog aversion training teaches a dog to ignore the smells and signs of kiwi when they come across them. Most dogs can learn this avoidance behaviour quickly and remember it for about 12 months.
Marguerite says the kiwi released in the bush on Mount Tamahunga could roam long distances, even wandering on to local properties where dogs live and have free rein.
The planned translocation of kiwi comes after years of negotiations with the Department of Conservation and more than a decade of predator trapping efforts on Mount Tamahunga.
Kiwi disappeared from Mount Tamahunga in the 1980s following the collapse of the ferret fur trade, and the subsequent release of thousands of predatory ferrets into the wild.
o register your dog for aversion therapy, email email@example.com