The Department of Conservation (DoC) has launched legal proceedings against a Coromandel dog owner, after a kiwi was found dead on private property near conservation land.
The charges have been made under the Dog Control Act, as the remains of the kiwi were discovered near Papa Aroha coastal forest in July 2019.
Two dogs held by the same owner were directly linked to the attack through DNA evidence.
The maximum penalty the court can hand down is a $20,000 fine or up to three years in jail, an order for the dogs to be put down can also be issued.
Despite the incident occurring in 2019, eight kiwis were killed by dogs in the Coromandel area that year.
As most species of kiwis are listed as either endangered or near-threatened, David Agnew, DoC’s Acting Operations Manager in Whitianga said dog attacks on kiwis undermine significant long-term investment and work done to protect the birds.
"Incidents like these can be devastating both for the birds’ population, and also the many people who commit time and energy to kiwi protection. Kiwi deaths from dog attacks are even more tragic because they can be prevented," said Agnew.
Because the birds are extremely vulnerable to predators, DoC is urging dog owners who live near kiwi habitats to keep their dogs tied up at night.
During the day they are expected to keep their dogs on a leash when near kiwi environments.
The owner of the two dogs will appear in Thames District Court in March 2020.