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Sponsored kiwi avoidance training for dogs



thumbnail Meg with her kiwi avoidance training certificate-849Avoidance training can help reduce the threat dogs pose to kiwi in the Brynderwyns area. Many local dog owners have taken advantage of past training sessions and the next will take place on March 15, sponsored by Friends of the Brynderwyns Society.

Annual monitoring has shown kiwi numbers have increased as a result of successful breeding and that many have ventured into bush and farmland well beyond Marunui Conservation where they were first released.

Evidence of this was provided just prior to Christmas when a kiwi was found killed by a vehicle at the Brynderwyn intersection of SH1 and SH12. The Department of Conservation retrieved the bird and found it to be an adult male of good size but without a chip.

“All birds released at Marunui were chipped so we conclude it was the offspring of one of our original kiwi,” says Cathy Hawley of Marunui Conservation. “It’s death is distressing but confirms that kiwi chicks have survived to adulthood and some have dispersed over long distances. We encourage dog owners in and around the Brynderwyns to be alert to the possibility that kiwi may be on their land and in need of protection.”

Many kiwi in Northland are killed by dogs. Their distinctive smell makes them easy for a dog to track and, having no wing muscles or breast bone, their internal organs can be fatally crushed in seconds. Avoidance training is available to farm, pig hunting and domestic dogs and takes about 10 minutes. The dog is fitted with a special collar and receives a brief shock if it shows interest in any kiwi prop. It learns that kiwi are something to stay away from but does not necessarily guarantee the dog, if uncontrolled or roaming, will not attack a kiwi.

Pebblebrook Road residents Sharyn and Glen Cant took their dog Meg for her refresher avoidance training last year.

“We would encourage other dog owners along the road to do the training as we have heard kiwi calls in the locality.”

Similarly, Friends of the Brynderwyns Society chair Martina Tschirky has had her dog trained annually and considers avoidance training contributes to kiwi protection.

“It only takes a few minutes but could save a kiwi’s life.”

She applauds owners who have their dogs trained, keep them under control, tied up or enclosed, or on a lead and closely supervised.

¢ Booking is essential, not later than March 10 for training on March 15. Email john.hawley@xtra.co.nz, (09) 376 4069 or 027 262 7904.

Pebblebrook Road resident Meg the dog after her last refresher training. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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