Thursday, July 18, 2024

Dog attack kills 19 gulls in Kaikōura

Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are reminding people to control dogs in coastal areas after 19 gulls/tarāpunga were found dead at Kaikōura’s South Bay.

DOC South Marlborough Senior Biodiversity Ranger, Pat Crowe says in coastal areas, dogs should be kept under control as they pose a threat to birds and seals.

“A member of the public reported the gull deaths to us on Friday 8 March and a DOC ranger found 17 adults and two juveniles dead with injuries that appeared to be caused by a small dog or dogs. Dogs are required to be on a lead in the area the gulls were found,” he said.

“The red-billed gull/tarāpunga is a protected native species and DOC and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura view the harming of them very seriously. Tarāpunga are a taonga species for Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura.

“It’s extremely disheartening to see wildlife killed in such a needless and preventable way. We work hard to protect gulls and other nesting birds around Kaikōura Peninsula from pest animals so it’s tough to see such a large number of birds killed by a domestic animal. 

“We’re appealing for anyone who has information about the gull deaths to contact us on our DOC 24-hour number 0800 DOCHOT/0800 362 468.”

Mr Crowe said red-billed gulls were commonly seen in coastal areas, but their numbers nationally are declining at an alarming rate. The species currently has a conservation status of ‘at-risk: declining’.

“Kaikōura Peninsula is a stronghold for the species with around 3,000 pairs nesting there annually,” he said.

Under the Dog Control Act 1996, the owner of a dog that seriously injures or kills protected wildlife can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to $20,000, or both, if convicted. The court can also order the dog or dogs involved to be destroyed.

“Dog owners should keep their dogs on a lead, not only to protect wildlife but also to keep their dog safe. We have witnessed seals attack unsuspecting dogs in the past.”

Latest Articles