Dogs on the loose threat to kiwi population in Hawke's Bay park

Hawke’s Bay's largest kiwi population may be at risk from two dogs that are loose in the Kaweka Forest Park according to the Department of Conservation.

The dogs entered the forest park on Sunday July 1 with their owner, where they escaped from Little's Clearing car park and have not been seen since.

DOC Ahuriri-Napier ranger Rod Hansen says he is extremely concerned for the welfare of the kiwi, as these dogs have not been trained to avoid birds.

"Only avian avoidance trained, permitted dogs are allowed in the park and they must be under the control of their owner at all times.

Two dogs loose in Hawke's Bay park. Source: DOC

"This means that the park's kiwi are at even greater risk than they would be otherwise from a free roaming dog," Mr Hansen says.

The dogs have been roaming the forest park for almost two weeks now which means they could have covered considerable ground.

DOC Napier-Auhuriri Acting Operations Manager Moana Smith-Dunlop says dogs not under control can kill kiwi really easily.

Kiwi (file picture).
Kiwi (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

"These birds are very fragile, it doesn't take much of a bite or a dog mouthing them, to kill them. That is why people must be mindful that if they do take a permitted dog into the Kaweka Forest park they are entering kiwi territory," Ms MSith-Dunlop says.

DOC is now working with the owner to recover these animals urgently.

DOC also asks that any sightings of the dogs be reported by phoning 0800 DOC-HOT.

Two dogs loose in Hawke's Bay park. Source: DOC