Two dogs missing in the Kaweka Forest Park in Hawke's Bay have been found alive and well after spending 25 days on public conservation land.
The animals went missing from Little’s Clearing carpark off Kaweka Road on July 1, and the owner spent considerable time and energy unsuccessfully looking for them, Department of Conservation Ahuriri-Napier Acting Operations Manager Moana Smith-Dunlop said today.
DOC launched an operation to recover the dogs because there was concern for the kiwi population in the area, Ms Smith-Dunlop said.
"A ground search was sparked after two sets of tracks, we believed belonged to the dogs, were found on July 13 and again on July 20.
"This search saw DOC staff and kiwi volunteers hike into the Kaweka Forest Park to look for the animals, but they also had no luck initially," she said.
Ms Smith-Dunlop said as a part of this operation, staff borrowed several live capture traps in case of any sightings.
But these were not deployed as the dogs were found by a member of the public on Castle Range road last week.
To date extensive checks of the monitored kiwi in the area had revealed no deaths or harm, she said.
DOC is extremely grateful to all members of the public who helped search for the dogs and provided information which assisted with their recovery, Ms Smith-Dunlop said.
DOC is now working with the owner to resolve any outstanding issues, she said.
The department is asking people to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding dogs on public conservation land.
There are different types of access for dogs on public conservation land - from open dog areas to controlled areas where dogs are not allowed.
Dog owners should check with the local DOC office before they head out, Ms Smith-Dunlop said.